PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — At the beginning of the season, some thought the Denver Broncos could contend for a playoff berth and the Eagles were not quite ready to compete for the Lombardi Trophy.
It appears the roles have been reversed the first half of the season.
While the Eagles have stormed out to the NFL’s best record at 7-1, the slumping Broncos are 3-4 and have lost three in a row.
Denver hardly looks like the team that blew out the Cowboys earlier in the year. However, Denver will take the field at the Linc on Sunday in desperate need of a victory.
Despite their struggles, Doug Pederson knows the Broncos have the top-rated defense in the NFL thanks largely to the play of Linebacker Von Miller.
“Von is a tremendous pass rusher as we know,” said Pederson. “A lot of respect for him for his play and his style of play. He’s tough whether you’re playing him in Mile High or anywhere.”
Denver fans have had few complaints about their team’s defense, but the offense is another story. The Broncos have struggled to put points on the board in recent weeks, so the team is making a switch at quarterback.
Brock Osweiler steps in this week under center, but Eagles Linebacker Nigel Bradham says it will be business as usual for the Eagles Defense.
“I think the scheme will stay the same for the most part,” Bradham said. “It’s just another play caller and someone those guys are probably used to. What we do is try to go back and just get a feel for him and his style and his key targets and how he carries the offense and communicates.”
While Denver has had issues at quarterback, the Broncos have been able to move the ball on the ground. C.J. Anderson and Jamal Charles have combined to rush for 704 yards.
Bradham knows the Eagles must stop the run to slow down the Broncos on Sunday.
“They’re a very good running offensive team,” said Bradham. “They’ve always been skilled. They have great running backs. All of those guys are extremely talented running backs.”
The Eagles also have a host of talented running backs. One is Jay Ajayi, who was acquired in a trade with Miami earlier in the week. Ajayi does not know yet if he will be able to suit up on Sunday, as he continues to get a crash course in the playbook.
But all things considered, Ajayi would rather be in Philadelphia.
“It’s been great,” Ajayi said. “This is a great team, obviously shown by what they’ve been able to do this year. It’s been cool to feel appreciated and I’m just trying to be a part of the team.”