DENVER -- Former NFL receiver Lance Moore raised an interesting point. As a guest on Sirius XM NFL Radio on Saturday night, I made a compelling case for the Broncos to rout the New York Giants. The Giants struggle to run the ball, they have more stars on their injured list than a planetarium, and the Broncos are salivating at creating turnovers against a quarterback who likes to take risks.
Moore laughed and provided a quick history lesson. As a member of the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints in 2010, Moore prepared for the Cleveland Browns. The Saints were 4-2 coming off an easy win over Tampa Bay. The Saints hosted the Browns at the SuperDome, where they dominated. And the Browns, well, they were the Browns. So of course, Cleveland won behind Peyton Hillis -- yeah that Peyton Hillis -- and Drew Brees' gift-wrapped four interceptions.
"It can happen," Moore said.
Damn right. But not this Sunday night with this Broncos defense.
My Denver7 Keys to a Broncos victory:
1) Running down a dream
Nothing creates a steady heartbeat and provides comfort like repeated chunks on the ground. C.J. Anderson is averaging 4.52 yards per clip. Jamaal Charles, whose role should continue to grow as a receiver out of the backfield, is reeling off 5.3 per attempt. The Giants are vulnerable upfront, yielding 139 yards per game, fourth worst in the NFL. But what if New York shoves eight men in the box?
2) Wide out, wide open
Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas have been targeted 64 times, same as league leader Antonio Brown. Sanders owns 190 yards. Thomas has 247, but has yet to score this season. The reality is the Broncos need more vertical chunk plays. Denver has four passing plays of more than 21 yards. That won't work as the schedule stiffens on the road over the next three weeks. Get man on the outside, and Trevor Siemian must give his top receivers a chance to make a play.
3) Stuffed run with a side of dirt
The Broncos look like a playoff contender this season because of their breathtaking ability to stuff the run. They are yielding a league-low 50.8 yards per game, well ahead of Philadelphia's 65.7. There's no way the Giants should gain traction on the ground. They are not built for it. This should play into Denver's strength.
4) Take it away
When the Broncos inevitably stop the run, they need to drop their fangs. This marks the week for the Broncos to go on a takeaway spree. They have four takeaways this season, and no fumble recoveries. With Eli Manning prone to holding onto the ball and his tackles struggling, Von Miller, Shaq Barrett and Derek Wolfe should feast.
5) Start me Up
The Broncos scored a league-worst 40 first quarter points last season. They own 27 this year, fourth best. Couple that with the fact that Denver has not allowed a first-quarter point. Want to crush dreams and kill hope of a struggling team? Take a commanding 10-0 lead in the first 15 minutes.
6) Finish them off
The Broncos' offense has not been able to put teams away, undermined by penalties, turnovers and conservative play calling. The Broncos own seven fourth quarter points. If this game is within reach Sunday night, a two-score fourth quarter would send a message about the offense's progress.
7) Isn't that Special?
The Broncos special teams needs improvement. Brandon McManus has missed three field goals at home (4-for-7), matching last season's total (15-for-18). History says he will get back on track. But with close games looming, this would be a good night to snap out of his mini-slump.