Broncos will have motivation down Pats
For the Broncos, this is Super Bowl LI. Let that be a friendly warning to Tom Brady, Coach Hoodie and the New England Patriots.
Denver isn’t winning the championship. Not this season. The Broncos are too inexperienced at quarterback, too soft against the run, too messed up by a patchwork offensive line. It’s preposterous to think they can make it all the way back to Super Bowl LI in February and defend their NFL crown.
So bring it, New England. The Broncos are ready to go down swinging. This is a broken and bleeding champ’s last hurrah. In front of a home crowd, against the one formidable foe that defensive lineman Derek Wolfe and everybody else in Denver love to hate, the Broncos have more than a puncher’s chance to put a big hurt on Handsome Tom and the Pats one more time.
New England is the better football team. No doubt. Denver, however, is the more desperate football team.
It’s time to separate the boys from the little kids, as DeMarcus Ware might say.
With an 8-5 record, Denver’s margin of error to make the playoffs is next to zero. So I asked Ware if he believes a back-against-the-wall mentality can make the Broncos more dangerous.
“It’s one of those games that are those must-win type of games. You’ve got to give it all you got,” Ware said. “It’s a playoff-type atmosphere. Because, now, you’re separating the boys
from the little kids.”
Snorting smoke, angry Bill Belichick will wade into a sea of orange on a frigid afternoon in Colorado. The No-Fly Zone takes on the greatest quarterback of his generation. Now that’s the definition of big-boy football. Yes, the Patriots are three-point favorites, as well they should be. But how has that worked out for New England in recent trips to Denver? Do the scores 30-24 and 20-18 ring a bell?
Yes, I would tell you New England is the way to bet. Wolfe, however, insists there’s nothing quite like the thrill of tossing Brady on the ground. Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian has already won matchups against Cam Newton and Andrew Luck. And linebacker Von Miller warns doubters like me that it’s too early to bury the Broncos yet.
“We still have long time to be talking about not making the playoffs. We still have three really big games against three playoff teams,” said Miller, who doesn’t need to be reminded that the three foes remaining on Denver’s schedule have a combined record of 31-8. “I’ve never really been a fan of down-the-road stuff. … I don’t want to get started on the Chiefs or Raiders. We have our plates full with the New England Patriots.”
New England wears arrogance well. Uneasy rests the crown in Denver. Brady can throw for 350 yards with a football inflated as big as a weather balloon, in his sleep, while wearing Uggs. Heck, around here, three-and-out has become standard operating procedure on offense. Gary Kubiak coaches a team that doesn’t do pretty, can’t stand prosperity and craves disrespect. Well, now. From top of the NFL world to third place in the AFC West, the Broncos may finally be in a spot where they feel comfortable.
“We have always been the underdog, since last year. Before we won the Super Bowl, every single team that we played, we were the underdog,” Ware said. He relishes the victories against Pittsburgh, New England and Carolina that gave Denver the Vince Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl 50.
Ware loves the haters. He embraces everybody itching to throw dirt on Denver as a team that was lucky to win it all. He knows what people are saying about the Broncos.
“It’s the same thing now,” Ware said. “It’s like: ‘Denounce your throne!’ ” The king ain’t dead. He’s mad. Real mad. Welcome to the orange madness, Mr. Brady. So good to see you again.