Week 10: Denver Broncos At Carolina Panthers
- QuarterbackPeyton Manning has this team believing it is a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Manning has been quite accurate in recent weeks and when the threw two interceptions against the Bengals to give them life in the second half, he bounced back and quickly put them away. Manning completed 27-of-35 passes against Cincinnati for 291 yards with three TDs in addition to his two picks.The Panthers got a much-needed win in Washington, but there is still significant pressure on Cam Newton to play consistently. Newton seemed to accept the pressure that comes with playing the position and did not tighten up. He completed 13-of-23 passes for 201 yards and threw a clutch TD pass to Steve Smith. Newton also ran for a score.
- OffenseThe Broncos don’t have a lot of Pro Bowl type weapons at Manning’s disposal, but they do have great-effort players who make a difference. Start off with hard-running Willis McGahee who finishes his runs like a heavyweight fighter. Eric Decker can make the tough catches, shake off the tackler and get yardage. Demaryius Thomas can be a game breaker and he is getting better each week.The Panthers have struggled on the offensive end this season but that does not mean head coach Ron Rivera’s team does not have good weapons. Newton, Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams are all effective running the ball. However, the best development for Carolina was Smith catching his first touchdown pass of the year in the win over the Redskins. Greg Olsen is dependable at tight end.
- DefenseThe Broncos use their speed and positioning to come after you on the defensive end. Few pass rushers in the NFL have more speed than Von Miller, who is coming off a three sack game against the Bengals and he also contributed six tackles. Cornerback Champ Bailey remains one of the best defensive backs in the game and his battle with Smith will be worth the price of admission.The Panthers had an excellent scheme against the Redskins and they did a superior job of slowing down rookie sensation Robert Griffin III both through the air and on the ground. Rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly is a big hitter who had 15 tackles vs. the Redskins while veteran Thomas Davis is smart and dependable. He had nine tackles vs. Washington.
- Special TeamsThe Broncos got a much-needed jolt when Trindon Holliday took the second-half kickoff and returned it 105 yards for a touchdown. When the Broncos can get that kind of production from special teams, they are hard to beat. Placekicker Matt Prater has not missed a field goal attempt this season.The Panthers did very little on special teams against the Redskins. They could have a problem if the game comes down to special teams play. Justin Medlock missed his only field goal attempt against the Redskins while Brad Nortman is averaging 41.9 yards per punt this season.
The Broncos did not play their best game against the Bengals, but they did what they had to in order to secure the victory. The Panthers showed plenty of toughness in getting off the deck after a tough loss at Chicago and then beating the Redskins. They should come with their best effort at home.