By Kevin McGuire
The Denver Broncos are the next team on the schedule for the Philadelphia Eagles, and they may be getting the Broncos at an ideal time as the AFC West franchise is scuffling on offense. On the other hand, the Broncos are also looking to snap a three-game losing streak and could be a dangerous team given how desperate they are to break out of their recent funk. Defensively, the Broncos will pose threats to the Eagles, but Denver is also a team that lost at home to the New York Giants.
Here’s a look at this week’s opponent for the Eagles.
The Broncos have lost three straight games and four of their last five after jumping out to a 2-0 start to the season, one that was highlighted by a routing of the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2. The Eagles are 7-5 all-time against the Broncos, but Denver has taken four of the last five meetings dating back to 1998.The Broncos won a 2013 meeting in Denver by a score of 52-20. The Eagles won the last meeting in Philadelphia, 30-27, in 2009.
Broncos on Offense
The Broncos are finding out once again just how difficult it can be to replace a legend at quarterback. Just as replacing John Elway had its ups and downs in Denver, the Broncos are still looking for their next franchise quarterback after the retirement of Peyton Manning. Trevor Siemian has been making costly mistakes and has not been able to carry over what worked well at the beginning of the season. As a result, the pressure to have former first-round draft pick Paxton Lynch healthy and ready to step in appears to be mounting. But the more likely alternative, for now, will be Brock Osweiler. As a team, the Broncos had five turnovers Monday night against Kansas City and Siemian had his share of those turnovers. C.J. Anderson leads the running game with 469 yards, but is one of four players to lead the team with one rushing touchdown.
Broncos on Defense
The offense may be scratching their heads, but Denver’s defense is as tough as they come. The Broncos will come to Philly with the NFL’s top-ranked defense with just 261.0 yards allowed per game. What will be fascinating to watch is the Broncos run defense—ranked second in the league behind the Eagles—potentially get a chance to go up against the newly formed rushing duo of Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount. It remains to be seen if Ajayi will be available this week for the Eagles, but the Broncos will be tough to run on with or without him. Denver has allowed 21.0 points per game, good for 13th in the NFL. They have allowed 20+ points in each of their three straight losses coming in. The Broncos are 1-4 when allowing 20 or more points in a game this season.
Broncos Players to Watch
Von Miller, Linebacker: After the Monday night loss, Von Miller hinted he feels as though he is hitting his stride, and that should be a concern. Miller already has seven sacks this season and he may be hungry to make a play after being held to just three tackles against the Chiefs.
Brock Osweiler, Quarterback: After an ugly performance by Siemian against Kansas City and with offensive struggles the last few weeks, the Broncos could be on the verge of a possible quarterback change. And with Lynch probably not ready to play, Osweiler would be the next man up in the offense.
The way the Eagles are playing and the way the Broncos are flustered on offense, this appears to be a much more favorable matchup than it looked like at the beginning of the season. The Eagles will still have to solve this Denver defense, but an early afternoon kickoff at home figures to give the Eagles an advantage. If Ajayi can join the team in time to mix some things up on offense, that could be the key.