Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Broncos-Cowboys Preview & week 4 picks

Posted by mizzou1028 on October 3, 2009

Kyle Orton On Sunday we will finally start to get an idea if the Denver Broncos are actually for real or not.  Sunday begins a five game stretch of opponents that are needless to say a significant upgrade over Denver’s slate the first three weeks of the season (although I am more hesitant than ever to claim the Bengals were an easy win – after all CIncy is 2-1).  While the schedule does get tougher for the Broncos, it is also fair to say that Sunday’s home game against Dallas no longer looks like a sure loss the way it did roughly a month ago.  In fact, the Broncos appear to be a good position to quite possibly be 4-0, something that looked impossible before the regular season started.

The Broncos 3-0 record is of course party due to the fact that they’ve gotten to beat up on woeful Cleveland and Oakland, but make no mistake about it, the defense has been the real deal so far.  The Broncos are allowing just 5.3 points per game, which will win you games no matter who you’re playing.  The 16 points allowed by the Broncos through three games is third best total through three games in NFL history.  The Broncos have allowed just four opponent scores (three field goals and one touchdown) in 33 possessions this season.  Denver has turned around its turnover fortunes in a big way, going from a league worst minus 17 last year to a second best in the league plus 6 this season.  Defensively the Broncos are getting pressure on opposing passers (six sacks so far for Elvis Dumervil), and the secondary is much improved led by veteran Brian Dawkins.  As awful as the defense was last season, this is nothing short of an amazing turnaround.  Offensively, Kyle Orton once again wasn’t flashy last week, but he threw a touchdown pass and has still yet to throw a pick in 2009.  Brandon Marshall responded with five catches as well, but the biggest key has been the running game.  Correll Buckhalter is averaging nearly seven yards a carry, and Knowshon Moreno leads all rookies in rushing.

The Cowboys are no question an upgrade over Broncos’ opponents so far, especially in terms of the running game.  Dallas leads the league in rushing as a team through three games, even though several of their backs have been banged up.  Marion Barber missed last week’s game against Carolina, but will return against the Broncos.  He is very physical but also has breakaway speed.  Tashard Choice has also been a very capable injury fill-in for Dallas, and he will be needed because Felix Jones in unlikely to play.  Regardless, it will be interesting to see if the Broncos’ outstanding run defense continues against the league’s top rushing attack.  As they say, something has to give here.  The Cowboys passing offense is always dangerous with Tony Romo at the controls, but Romo has been inconsistent this season.  Still, Romo is one of the more talented quarterbacks in the league (certainly better than the previous two the Broncos have faced, Brady Quinn and JaMarcus Russell).  Even Carson Palmer appeared to not be 100 percent in week one, so this will really be the first big passing game test for the Broncos as well in addition to the running game challenge.  Dallas also has good receivers in Patrick Crayton and Roy Williams, but the biggest threat is tight end Jason Witten.  It will be fun to see how the Broncos try to contain Witten.  Defensively, the Cowboys have not been spectacular, but they do pass rushing specialist DeMarcus Ware and a good secondary.  The Cowboys are 2-1, and they often seem to play better on the road than at home.

I think this should be a great game.  The Fox network seems to realize this, as they are sending their top team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to do the game, and most the country will get it, unless you have the misfortune to be stuck with 49ers-Rams.  I think both teams will have success running the football, but I also have a feeling that both offenses are going to find it tough going in the passing game.  I think it should all add up to a close game that should be decided by a turnover or big play in the fourth quarter.  Considering Invesco Field should be rocking, and possibly be louder than it has in several seasons, I like emotion to sway the Broncos’ way and I like them to come up with a cople more turnovers and the win.

The Pick: Broncos 24 Cowboys 20

Now on to the rest of the picks:

Last week: 13-3 Season: 36-12

I am almost hesitant to continue picking since this is about the best my record has ever been, but here we go:

– Bills over Dolphins: This is a tough one.  Miami is at home and desperate to get their first win, but they have Chad Henne starting at QB for the injured Chad Pennington and haven’t looked anywhere close to last year’s team that won the division.  Buffalo played hard against the Saints last week but came up short.  I guarantee T.O. isn’t held without a catch two weeks in a row, and I like the Bills in this one.

– Ravens over Patriots: Minor upset alert.  This should be one of the best games of the weekend.  New England’s defense was great against Atlanta, but Tom Brady still doesn’t look quite right.  That doesn’t bode well against the Ravens defense, and since Baltimore now has offense to go with it, I like the Ravens here in a mini-upset, but it will be very close.

– Saints over Jets: This should be another good game, but I actually think the Saints will pull away in the second half being that this is in the Superdome.  New Orleans’ offense is scary good, and I just don’t think the Jets will be able to keep up.  Although, Darelle Revis against the Saints receivers will be a great matchup.  Still, I like New Orleans.

– Bengals over Browns: Being at home won’t help the Browns at all.  Cleveland is a mess in absolutely every way, even with Derek Anderson back under center.  The Bengals do need to avoid a letdown after last week’s big win, and that make the game ugly to watch, but in the end I like Cincinnati to be 3-1.

– Texans over Raiders: Houston keeps flirting with those of us who keep waiting for them to break out and be a winning team.  I still think they have too much talent not to be player by the end of the season.  The Texans shouldn’t have any trouble here against a Raiders’ team that has already faded into obscurity after a good effort in week one.

– Colts over Seahawks: Matt Hasselbeck is still questionable, and that is very bad news for Seattle.  Peyton Manning will also be able to feast against the secondary that is really battling injuries.  Factor in Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, and company and this will get very ugly very quickly.  Better hope Fox switches to a more competitive game if you’re stuck with this one.

– Titans over Jaguars: This game will be blacked out in Jacksonville due to a non-sellout.  I realize the Jaguars won last week, but I still don’t think they’re a contender.  Tennessee has to be furious about its 0-3 start, but they will not fall to 0-4.  It may be a close game because of Maurice Jones-Drew, but in the end I like the Titans.

– Giants over Chiefs: Arrowhead won’t be any help to Kansas City in this one.  The Giants are definitely playing playoff quality football and the Chiefs, well, let’s just say they aren’t.  The Giants should roll easily in this one, dominating on both sides of the ball.

– Bears over Lions: Chicago has bounced back nicely after losing its opening game (I have to admit partly due to Jay Cutler) while the Lions finally remembered last week what it felt like to win a game.  This will be at Soldier Field though, and that doesn’t bode well for the Lions.  Chicago wins.

– Redskins over Buccaneers: Dud game of the week.  Washington has looked awful, even in its win in week two against the Rams.  Tampa Bay has looked worse, and has benched Byron Leftwich at quarterback.  This pick isn’t so much a vote of confidence for Washington but rather a well, I have to pick someone so….we’ll just go with the home team.

– 49ers over Rams: St. Louis showed some life offensively last week against the Packers, but they are still bad.  San Francisco suffered a heartbreaking defeat on the final play last week, and now they will motivated on their home field this week.  The 49ers should roll easily in this one.

– Steelers over Chargers: The thought of Pittsburgh at 1-3 is enough to warrant apocalypse warnings.  I simply refuse to believe the defending champs will drop three straight.  San Diego has looked very inconsistent on both sides of the ball, and even though LaDainian Tomlinson is back, I still like the Steelers’ physicality to rule the day here in the Sunday nighter.

– Vikings over Packers: ESPN did cartwheels the day Brett Favre announced he was coming back because this game is the Monday night matchup this week.  It’s in Minnesota, but there will be a lot of electricity in the air.  This was a big rivalry anywhere and now only intensified with Favre playing for the Vikings.  This should be a good game with good quarterback play, but in the end I like Adrian Peterson to carry the day, and that means a win for the Vikings in the Metrodome.

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One Response to “Broncos-Cowboys Preview & week 4 picks”

  1. Doug Baker said

    I pick Denver over Dallas as well. Good luck!

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