Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Broncos Football on a THURSDAY???

Posted by mizzou1028 on November 6, 2008

I have to admit I can never get used to it when the Broncos, or any other NFL team, plays a Thursday game.  This is the fourth consecutive year the Broncos have drawn a Thursday contest (including two Thanksgiving Day games) and I still can’t get used to it.  I actually applaud the concept of getting more games on television for the fans, although I’m not sure NFL Network counts as a national broadcast at this point due to the fact numerous households still don’t get the channel.  At any rate, the Broncos face a very difficult task for numerous reasons: the short week, the fact they’re coming off a tough loss, the numerous injuries on both sides of the ball, and the travel on such a short timetable (to the eastern time zone to boot, where no pacific or mountain time zone team has won a game this season).  If that’s not enough, they get what is sure to be a raucous crowd at Cleveland Browns Stadium that will be excited for the debut of Brady Quinn.

My pick for the game is coming in a moment, but first a reminder that this is the first of a slate of Thursday NFL games every week for the rest of the season, so remember this if you are in an eliminator pool, have a fantasy lineup that needs to be set before the first kick, or even if you have players that may be involved in the game that you need to make a decision on.  In this space, I will offer a pick for each Thursday game before it kicks off, and then will follow up with the rest of the picks on Friday as normal.  So remember to look for the rest of my picks for week 10 on Friday, along with a recap of the Broncos and Browns.  

This is a very difficult game to pick because both teams are a mess.  The Broncos have no choice but to start Ryan Torain at tailback because no one else is left.  Andre Hall and Michael Pittman were placed on injured reserve this week, and Selvin Young won’t be 100 percent even if he plays.  The coaches do love Torain, but he didn’t look up to speed against Miami.  The Broncos also will likely still be without Tony Scheffler, who will take the extended time before the next game to try and get back in the lineup.  His absence has had a real adverse effect on the passing game.  Meanwhile, Denver’s defense took another hit with the news that leading tackler D.J. Williams will be out at least a month with a torn MCL.  This means no Williams and no Bailey (either of them).  Not to mention, the Broncos are sitting on a league worst minus 11 turnover margin in their past five games.  It can be argued that the Broncos are leading their division, but that carries no weight whatsoever for a team that has lost four of its past five games.  It actually came as a surprise to me to read today that the Broncos are just 20-20 in their past 40 games, and that frankly isn’t acceptable for us in Broncos Country. 

The Browns have finally made the long overdue decision to yank Derek Anderson in favor of Brady Quinn.  This is a move I have advocated for since the offseason, when Cleveland made the surprising decision to offer Anderson a 3 year $24 million contract, even though they had made a big investment in Quinn by making him their first round pick in 2007.  This season Anderson has been anything but great, ranking dead last among starting quarterbacks with a terrible 49.8 completion percentage.  While Anderson has been dreadful at times, Quinn is of course an unknown, having made just one appearance in mop up duty last year.  The timing of the decision to make the move to Quinn with such a short week to prepare also seems a little odd.  The Browns are coming off a loss to Baltimore in which they blew a 27-13 second half lead and watched the Ravens score 20 unanswered points to end the game.  Cleveland’s defense has struggled against the run this year, having given up 154 yards to rookie Ray Rice last week, allowing him to average 7.3 yards a carry.  The Browns’ 3-5 start is not what they were hoping for after knocking on the door to the playoff party last season.

Sometimes when you have two struggling teams going at it, it actually turns out to be a good game, and that could be the case here.  I really hope I’m wrong, but I think this game shapes up to be bad news for the Broncos in more ways than one.  I do think the Broncos will be able to run better than they did against Miami, and I also think Jay Cutler and the passing game will give a better effort.  I think the deciding factor will be the play of Quinn, and if he doesn’t panic in his first start, he will be guaranteed to find Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow open all night with the Broncos missing their top defenders.  Edwards against Dre’ Bly in particular makes me really nervous, with Edwards looking like he’s about to break out for a big game the way his numbers have been climbing the past few weeks.  If the Broncos can rattle Quinn early and maybe even force an early turnover, which they haven’t done all year, then they will be able to stay in the game and maybe even control it.  If they can’t, it will be another long night for the orange and blue.  I really want to pick the Broncos to bounce back, but the rational side of me tells me I can’t.  The short week, the trip east, the missing bodies, the lack of confidence, it will be too much for the Broncos to overcome.

The Pick: Cleveland 27 Denver 17 

I really hope I’m wrong…….


4 Responses to “Broncos Football on a THURSDAY???”

  1. Doug Baker said

    It will be a very interesting game given the state of the two teams.

  2. Stephen Slaboda said

    Congratulations on an incorrect prediction, even if it was mostly gifted!

  3. mizzou1028 said

    Trust me, no one is more glad I was wrong than me!

  4. Doug Baker said

    Here’s my take on the game.

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