DENVER - After a tough four-game stretch, the Denver Broncos (10-2) return home with sole possession of the division lead and a chance to clinch a playoff spot on Sunday. Standing in their way is the Tennessee Titans (5-7) who need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Returning to the sidelines will be Broncos head coach John Fox who will oversee a team that will play the next two games in a five-day span. Here are the matchups to watch for as the Broncos host the Tennessee Titans.
Peyton Manning vs Bernard Pollard
Peyton Manning has averaged 343 yards passing yards a game this season. Manning’s average will be challenged against a Tennessee Titans defense that has not given up 300 passing yards in a game this season.
Danny Trevathan vs Chris Johnson
Danny Trevathan and his defensive mates will spend most of their afternoon chasing around Titans running back Chris Johnson. Johnson is a dual-threat back that has rushed for 774 yards and has caught 33 passes on the year. Trevathan leads Denver with 98 tackles.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie vs Kendall Wright
Titans receiver Kendall Wright is quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick’s favorite target. Wright leads the team with 71 receptions and 840 receiving yards. Assigned to cover the Titans lead man will be Broncos defensive back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who is expected to return to the line-up after missing last week’s game with a shoulder injury.
Demaryius Thomas vs Alterraun Verner
The Titans have ten total interceptions on the season; five of them are courtesy of defensive back Alterraun Verner. Verner’s interception total is good for second in the NFL. He will be matched up against Demaryius Thomas who leads the Broncos with 1,061 receiving yards and is tied for the team lead with ten touchdowns.
Jurrell Casey vs Zane Beadles
Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey is the team’s sack leader with nine. Casey was on a tear last week as he recorded two sacks against the Indianapolis Colts and will look to do the same as he faces the pass-happy Broncos. Broncos offensive linemen Zane Beadles will look to keep the Casey away from Peyton Manning.
Broncos Playoff Scenarios
The Broncos have three different ways they can clinch a playoff spot on Sunday. Denver cannot clinch the AFC West Division this week.
- If they beat the Tennessee Titans.
- If Miami Dolphins lose or tie the Pittsburgh Steelers.
- If the Baltimore Ravens lose or tie the Minnesota Vikings
Stat you should know
The Broncos have 25 giveaways on the season, which is tied for 29th in the NFL.
Broncos over the Titans 34-21.