The Denver Broncos are 2-0, but don’t celebrate quite yet
September 20, 2016
So I'm at a high school sports event last week and a guy in Broncos jersey says, "So, what happened?"
The Broncos had beaten the Panthers in Week 1, and I was clearly a moron for saying in this space before the season started that the Denver would not make the playoffs.
And after the Broncos beat the Colts last weekend, there are doubtless more local football fans saying "What's up, Freud?"
People, people, people.
They don't give out Super Bowl rings, much less playoff spots, after two games.
In the case of the Broncos, 2-0 is great start. Of course, the defense has been terrific so far. Is Von Miller right now the greatest thing since sliced bread? Probably. Quarterback Trevor Siemian has been in a protective cocoon, rightly designed by the coaching staff, so that he doesn't have to do much.
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On the other side of the coin, the Broncos' two wins are at home, where they have a great advantage. (Should they capitalize on the altitude and 70,000-plus raucous fans? Absolutely. You've got to win your home games.)
Now they go on the road this week to Cincinnati. DeMarcus Ware is out for our five weeks with a broken arm. That's an issue because it frees up opposing offensive lines to focus more on Miller. Right-tackle Donald Stephenson (calf) is out this week for the Bengals. That means a reshuffling of the Broncos' offensive line. At some point, Siemian is going to have to win a game for the Broncos. We don't know if he can do that yet.
Football, with just 16 games, seems like a sprint, particularly compared to baseball (162) and basketball and hockey (82 each). But the NFL remains a marathon. We have no idea what the Broncos, or any other team, will look like in December.
Nothing is guaranteed in this league.
Here are a few examples … Just look at the rash of running-back injuries in Week 2. The Vikings are 2-0, but they're probably not feeling like a 2-0 team without Adrian Peterson.
The Patriots are 2-0 without Tom Brady and Ron Gronkowski, which is spectacular. (I know most around here hate New England, but it's true.) On the other hand, Jimmy Garoppolo, who was playing in Brady's stead, went down in a heap on Sunday, and now New England is heading to Houston on Thursday with rookie Jacoby Brissett. I still like the Pats' chances better than the Vikings', but things can change in a blink of an eye.
And how bad did the Rams look after losing 28-0 to the Niners? Anyone see them beating the Seahawks? Actually last week's column said, "Seriously, it would be just like the Rams to comeback and beat Seattle this week after such a putrid performance."
As I pat myself on the back, this is why you don't rush to judgment.
Yes, the Broncos are here. So are the Steelers. That was good divisional win over a bitter rival for Pittsburgh. The AFC Central is shaping up as a good division.
The Patriots stay here as well. They may lose to Houston this week, but they have the dysfunctional Bills coming to town before Brady returns. They're fine.
The Panthers and Cardinals in the NFC bounced back from Week 1 losses. Again, this is why we don't overreact.
The Texans, Ravens, Giants, Vikings and Eagles are all 2-0, but have issues. Brock Osweiler had a rocky outing last week. The Ravens haven't played anyone yet. The Giants are squeaking by teams, but that's all they may need in the NFC East. We've already addressed the Vikings and the Eagles are still in the natal stages of developing Carson Wentz, despite all the hype. (Wentz gets Pittsburgh this week.)
As noted, the Seahawks blew chunks against the Rams. Give Russell Wilson the week off against the Niners, for crying out loud.
And you thought it couldn't get worse for the Browns? Of course, it could. They're the Browns. That was a terrible call for unsportsmanlike conduct late against the Ravens. But bad teams seem to make their own luck.
And Rex Ryan fired his offensive coordinator after his Bills' defense gave up 37 points against the Jets? Yeah, that makes sense.
On to Week 3.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.
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