Make no mistake about it. The Miami Dolphins face a colossal task when they travel to Denver to try and take a win against the Broncos. However, the Dolphins will be given hope by the fact that the St. Louis Rams (4-6) secured a win against Denver (7-3). While difficult, this is by no means an insurmountable task.
So without further ado, lets check out the depth chart of the Denver Broncos prior to the game on Sunday.
When quarterback Peyton Manning doesn't play well, the Broncos don't play well. This was evident in the team's loss to St. Louis over the weekend. The team had 0 trips into the red zone, and only made it into the Rams' 30-yard line twice. In fact, Denver scored the lowest points in this game since Manning became the signal caller in 2012. However, that doesn't mean that our defense will have a field day against the Broncos. This is a Manning-led offense, and they will be hungry to get their season back on track. Before the game on the weekend, the team averaged 31.8 points per game. This season, Manning has thrown for 3,301 yards, completed 67.1% of his passes and has amassed a mouth-watering 30 passing touchdowns. His average rating of 107.1 shows that the man is still a class act.
Aside from Manning, Emmanuel Saunders suffered a concussion after a brutal hit by Rams' safety Rodney McLeod. Julius Thomas also has an injury to his ankle, while Montee Ball injured his groin. All are questionable for this week's game.
|Position||First String||Second String||Third String||Other|
|WR||Demaryius Thomas||Andre Caldwell|
|LT||Ryan Clady||Paul Cornick|
|LG||Orlando Franklin||Ben Garland|
|C||Manny Ramirez||Will Montgomery|
|RG||Louis Vasquez||Ben Garland|
|RT||Chris Clark||Michael Schofield|
|TE||Julius Thomas||Virgil Green||Jacob Tamme|
|WR||Wes Welker||Isaiah Burse|
|WR||Emmanuel Sanders||Cody Latimer|
|QB||Peyton Manning||Brock Osweiler|
|RB||Montee Ball||Ronnie Hillman||C.J. Anderson||Juwan Thompson|
The Broncos base 4-3 defense at times looks like a Super Bowl defense. They are tough against the run, stingy against the pass and always put themselves in position to make plays. In fact, before the St. Louis game, no opponent has rushed more than 66 yards against Denver in the previous 6 games. Unfortunately for them, that didn't quite happen on the weekend as the Rams were allowed to dictate their own play on offense - holding onto the ball for 18 minutes and 46 seconds in the first half.
Still, the defensive line including defensive ends Derek Wolfe and DeMarcus Ware, and defensive tackles Terrance Knighton and Sylvester Williams are among the best in the business at identifying blocking schemes. Knighton is able to take on two blockers at a time, while linebacker Brandon Marshall attacks and fills the gaps, and racking up tackles in the process. In the secondary, the team has 10 interceptions, with Rahim Moore leading with 3 of them.
Miami, just throw the football.
|Position||First String||Second String||Third String|
|LDE||Derek Wolfe||Malik Jackson|
|DT||Sylvester Williams||Mitch Unrein|
|NT||Terrance Knighton||Marvin Austin Jr.|
|RDE||DeMarcus Ware||Quanterus Smith|
|SLB||Von Miller||Lerentee McCray|
|MLB||Nate Irving||Steven Johnson||Lamin Barrow|
|WLB||Brandon Marshall||Corey Nelson|
|LCB||Aqib Talib||Bradley Roby||Tony Carter|
|RCB||Chris Harris Jr.||Kayvon Webster||Omar Bolden|
|SS||T.J. Ward||Quinton Carter|
|FS||Rahim Moore||David Bruton Jr.|
On special teams, young kicker Brandon McManus has had a decent season to date, completing 8 of his 11 field goal attempts, including a long of 44. However, the Broncos don't seem to fully trust McManus yet, passing up the opportunity to let him kick from 54 and 55 yards indoors against the Rams. Punter Britton Colquitt, a former Dolphin who spent time on the practice squad for a grand total of 8 days in 2009, has had a good career with the Broncos to date.
|Position||First String||Second String|
|PR||Isaiah Burse||Emmanuel Sanders|
|KR||Andre Caldwell||Omar Bolden|
While the Broncos are 2-3 on the road, they always play well at home. Miami will need to produce a herculean effort against Denver on Sunday. However, judging from Thursday night's performance, this is by no mean's a foregone conclusion.
Alex Parish is an Associate Editor at The Phinsider. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @AlexParish89.