Tale Of The Tape: Jacksonville Jaguars At Denver Broncos
- QuarterbackThe Jaguars had a semblance of an offense against the St. Louis Rams in Week Five, but that’s hardly going to be enough against the overpowering Denver Broncos. Chad Henne must fill in again for Blaine Gabbert (hamstring), and while he may be a tad more consistent throwing the football, he has limited athleticism and could be a sitting duck in the pocket.Peyton Manning appears to have mastered the art of quarterbacking while everyone else struggles to keep their heads above water. Manning has completed 75.8 percent of his throws, is averaging 391.8 yards per game and has a 20-1 TD-interception ratio. His mastery of the offense and his accurate throws give him a major advantage over every other quarterback in the NFL.
- OffenseThe return of wide receiver Justin Blackmon was a step in the right direction for the Jaguars because he is a speedy receiver who can make plays downfield. He caught nine passes for 136 yards and a touchdown vs. the Rams, and he will be priority No. 1 for the Denver defense. Maurice Jones-Drew is a versatile runner and receiver, while Cecil Shorts is an excellent complementary receiver.Knowshon Moreno is not a great running back by any stretch, but he is adequate and versatile. Wes Welker is faster than you think and his ability to get into and out of his cuts without breaking stride makes him nearly impossible to cover. Demaryius Thomas can get deep while tight end Julius Thomas can get downfield and make yards after the catch.
- DefenseThe Jaguars have the near-impossible task of slowing down the cyclone that is the Denver Bronco offense. They simply don’t have the weapons to cope with Manning’s skill or the Broncos’ receiving talent. Middle linebacker Paul Posluszny has strength and intelligence and is an excellent tackler. Defensive end Jason Babin is ordinary, but he must have the game of his life to pressure Manning consistently.The Broncos have several problems on defense and the Cowboys exploited them to the point that they put up 48 points. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had been playing fairly well prior to that game, but he was burned repeatedly and will be targeted by Blackmon. Linebacker Danny Trevathan came up with the game-changing interception that allowed the Broncos to survive.
- Special TeamsThe Jaguars are going to have their work cut out for them on special teams since they are an ordinary coverage team and the Broncos have the weapons to exploit that. Placekicker Josh Scobee has not missed a FG attempt this year, but it’s unlikely kicking will decide this game.The Broncos have a sensational weapon in Trindon Holliday, and he can make big plays any time he catches a punt or kickoff on the run. Placekicker Matt Prater has been perfect on all nine of his FG attempts, while Britton Colquitt has dropped 9 of his 15 punts inside the opponents’ 20 yard line.
The Broncos are a monstrous 28-point favorite over the Jaguars, and that’s the largest spread in NFL history. It seems unlikely the margin will fall within those 28 points unless Denver head coach John Fox pulls his starters at the end of the first quarter. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor