By Danny Cox
Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos are playing some of the best football in the entire NFL right now, and they are one of the contenders to win it all. First though, they’ve got a few more games to get through and they begin with week 14 against the Buffalo Bills. Denver is looking for a first-round bye in the playoffs and home-field advantage as well, but stopping the Bills won’t be easy.
On the flip-side of things, the Buffalo Bills have a record of 7-5 and are hoping to make it into the playoffs as a wild card team. The problem is that five other AFC teams have a record of 7-5 and it’s going to be a tight race heading into the final few weeks of the season.
Former Buffalo Bills’ special teams ace and CBS Sports’ own Steve Tasker spoke to me about this week’s game between Denver and Buffalo. He has some good insight as to what either team needs to do to win, and a surprising take on whether or not the Broncos will win it all.
Buffalo got a big win over Cleveland last week, what is the main thing they need to do in order to get a win against Denver?
Steve Tasker: “They have to invite Denver to run the football and take the ball out of Peyton Manning’s hands. I doubt Manning will be patient enough to not throw the football a lot. The Buffalo Bills have got to somehow get the ball out of Manning’s hands, make the Broncos run the football, and not let that great wide receiving corps and tight end beat them.”
Do you believe CJ Anderson has won himself the primary running back spot for the Broncos?
ST: “Primary, maybe. But still, they’re going to need all of their running backs to play and play well. Anderson may be the primary guy, but more than one running back will be needed. It’s just the way it is in the NFL.”
How do the Broncos stop Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods?
ST: “I think they will do it a couple of different ways. One…they will pick and choose who they double. Robert Woods has really come about in the past month and set the Bills up nicely. There’s no doubt that Sammy Watkins is a talent, but Woods – over the last three weeks – has given notice that he needs attention paid to him defensively.
I think Denver will continue to double-team Sammy Watkins, but look for the number one corner to go on Robert Woods. The safety over the top will work with the number two corner on Watkins, and just put your best guy on Woods and hope he can stay with him.”
Denver seems to have corrected any issues they had from last season…do you see them as the leading contender to win it all?
ST: “Actually, I don’t think so. I think the New England Patriots are the favorite. They’re a more solid football team and I think they can beat you in more ways. Tom Brady drives the ball downfield better than Peyton Manning does, although I think the Broncos’ receivers are better overall.
I still think the Patriots have the ultimate weapon in (Rob) Gronkowski. Julian Edelman is a great compliment to him. The Patriots, inside the numbers with those two guys, are hard to match up with and it makes it harder to defender the run at the same time.
I like the Patriots overall, but if those two teams (Patriots and Broncos) meet in the AFC Championship, I’d say it’s a coin flip.”
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.