Peyton Manning and Drew Brees faced off in Super Bowl 44, with the Saints and Brees getting the better of Peyton Manning in that affair. Things have changed since then. The Saints do not have a head coach, Brees wines a lot, and Peyton Manning is now with the Denver Broncos. Denver is coming off an enormous victory over the San Diego Chargers and are currently 3-3 atop of the AFC West.
The Broncos biggest competitor within the division, the San Diego Chargers, lost a miserable game this afternoon in Cleveland. This gives the Broncos the ability to take a one game lead in the division with a game in hand against the Chargers. Tonight’s game will pit two of the better offenses in football against each other, the only difference being that the Broncos do have something that resembles an NFL defense, not one that belongs in the Big 12.
Keys to the Game: Slow down New Orleans’ offense. They are going to score points. They are too good not to score some points. If the Broncos’ defense can do enough to slow down Brees and company, Manning will be able to take care of the Saints’ Pop Warner defense. If Denver can keep New Orleans below 26 points they will have done enough for the Broncos offense to win the game. In a perfect world of course you do not want to see them score that many points, but it is hard to expect too much from a defense that has given up a lot of points to every opponent this season.
Control the ball. Keep the ball away from the Saints offense by converting on third downs and running the ball effectively. Develop a running game early and use it on a consistent basis. The running game will be especially important late when the Broncos have to take time off the clock and keep the ball away from New Orleans.
Do not turn the ball over. The Saints will take advantage of any mistakes you make, so the best defense against that is not to make one. Manning needs to keep the ball away from the secondary and McGahee and Thomas cannot be fumbling the ball.
Injuries: Denver has been fortunate all year with not having to sustain many injuries. They have only once concern this week, which is cornerback Tracy Porter who was experiencing symptoms for a seizure last week. Porter is listed as questionable, but you know he is going to want to play against his former team.
The Saints may be without one of their key players, tight end Jimmy Graham. He will be a game time decision along with linebacker David Hawthorne.
Final Analysis: I expect the Broncos to score on the Saints at will. They will be able to move the ball all over the field and as long as they convert those red zone trips into touchdowns they should walk away with a win tonight. Denver 36 New Orleans 24.