Mile High Monday: Opening Day 2.0 comes next Sunday against the Ravens

Sep 27, 2021, 6:19 AM
DENVER, COLORADO - SEPTEMBER 26: Justin Simmons #31 of the Denver Broncos pumps up the crowd during...
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

The Broncos are now one of a small handful of 3-0 teams in the NFL. In Week 3, they played at home for the first time in the 2021 season and shut out the New York Jets by a score of 26-0.

I like the way the Broncos have started. They sit atop the AFC West, tied with the Las Vegas Raiders, and they have a two-game lead over the Kansas City Chiefs who are 1-2.

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep TJ! The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.


Put in Timeout

Broncos rookie running back Javonte Williams was my No. 1 running back in the 2021 NFL Draft, and you know I was elated when Denver moved up in the second around to select him. After three weeks, Williams has looked good with limited touches – and I want him to get more involved in the Broncos offense.

Williams has a ton of power to his game and he wins collisions regularly. He runs with great intent but is splitting carries with starter Melvin Gordon. Williams was having a solid game against the Jets, and he had an early rushing touchdown – the first score of his pro career.

Things were looking up for Williams, until a fourth-quarter fumble that essentially got him benched for the rest of the game. On the team’s final drive, third-string running back Damarea Crockett – and not Williams – was on the field to close out the game.

After the game, Fangio revealed he said nothing to Williams after his fumble.

“No, I didn’t say anything to him; he knows. Teams are blitzing our run game, which is why we’ve had success in the pass. Teddy (Bridgewater) was again 19-and-25 for 235 yards and over a 104 (quarterback) rating. They’re going to major extremes to play our run game these first three opponents,” Fangio said.

I hope the Broncos start to feature Williams, but in order to do that he must hold onto the rock. We’ll see what his workload is like next week against a Ravens defense that can be run on.


Perspective Please

I think some in Broncos Country need some perspective. The Broncos are 3-0 but some are unhappy (?) with that mark. These “fans” proclaim the Broncos haven’t played anyone and that none of these wins matter because of the lack of talented opponents – as if the Broncos have control over how their schedule is structured.

Any team that starts 3-0 in NFL history has a 75 percent chance of making the playoffs. This means the Broncos have a good chance of making the postseason for the first time since they won Super Bowl 50. It’s no guarantee, and there’s a lot of football left to play but this is a great way to start the 2021 season.

The Broncos have played three bad teams. The Broncos have played three awful teams. Both statements are true. The Broncos have handily beaten these teams, and that should be noted. What else should be understood is the Broncos have momentum on their side – something they haven’t had in quite some time.

The Broncos are 3-0, but they’re not Super Bowl contenders. A team like the Chiefs with a 1-2 record still have a better chance of winning it all than the Broncos. However – and there’s always a however in life – the Broncos have momentum now as their schedule gets tougher. Not only are the next four games against tough teams (Ravens, Steelers, Raiders, Browns) go ahead and take a look at the schedule after their Week 11 bye when five of six divisional games will be played.

We’re about to find out just how good – precisely how good – this Broncos team is in 2021.


Bring on Baltimore

The Broncos regular season really begins in Week 4. We’re calling it “Opening Day 2.0” for the Broncos as they face a talented Baltimore Ravens team. Their home game next Sunday will be against the first team with a win in the 2021 season as the Giants, Jaguars and Jets are a combined 0-9.

The Ravens have a 2-1 record and could be undefeated as well if it wasn’t for a close and hard-fought loss to the Raiders in Week 1 33-27. Not only are the teams the Broncos have faced struggle with wins, they also don’t have a superstar quarterback like Lamar Jackson. How the Broncos deal with Jackson, and his hyper-athletic skill set, will go a long way in determining who wins the game.

While Denver is coming off a shutout win over the Jets, the Ravens are coming off a road game against the Lions where they barely held on to the win 19-17. Denver is trying to prove they can beat a good team, and the Ravens are trying to prove they are one of the best teams in the conference. The Broncos are a team hoping to get into the postseason while the Ravens are a true Super Bowl contender.

This is not going to be an easy game. However, this contest is going to tell us a lot about the 2021 Broncos team. Are they for real? Find out in Week 4 during Opening Day 2.0.

After watching the Ravens struggle this year, especially on defense, I think Denver can compete and win in this contest. Yes, Denver hasn’t played the greatest teams, but they are undefeated at the top of their division – and they have all the momentum.

That’s a powerful tool the Broncos can use to win a game that many think they won’t win. The Vegas odds do favor the Broncos slightly, but that’s to encourage more bettors – not necessarily a sign that there is confidence in the undefeated Broncos. There are a ton of injuries the Broncos are dealing with, and more collected on Sunday, so the Broncos will have to work through that and play at a high level to beat Baltimore in Week 4.


Enter Sandman

I am a lifelong comic book fan, and my collecting days started back in the ’90s when the industry was booming with record-setting sales. A comic book title that wasn’t at the top of the charts but was one of the best written series was “The Sandman” by Neil Gaiman. I became a huge fan of Gaiman’s work, not only in comics but also in novels like “Good Omens.”

Now, Gaiman’s stories are making it to the screen often with shows like Lucifer, American Gods and now The Sandman is coming to Netflix. The first trailer for “The Sandman” was released over the weekend, and I was super excited. Following Dream (Morpheus) and his family of The Endless should be a fun journey for long-time fans like myself or new fans who are introduced to the world by this streaming series.

Are you excited about “The Sandman” coming to Netflix? Hit me up on social media and let me know!


DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 17: Noah Fant (87) of the Denver Broncos sits on the grass after narrowly miss...
James Merilatt

Pick Six: Who is up and who is down after the Broncos loss in Week 6

When a team gets embarrassed on their home field, there are going to be more stocks falling than rising, as is the case with the Broncos
13 hours ago
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 3: Alexander Johnson #45 of the Denver Broncos on the sidelines before a game...
James Merilatt

The Broncos are woefully thin at inside linebacker after latest injury

With both Josey Jewell and Alexander Johnson lost for the season, oddly to the same injury, it'll be up to a couple of unfamiliar names to step up
13 hours ago
Baker Mayfield...
Cecil Lammey

Three keys to the Broncos beating the Browns on Thursday night

While things look bleak after an embarrassing loss to the Raiders, the quick turnaround may play into the Broncos hands as they head to Cleveland
13 hours ago
Drop the Mike...
Mike Evans

Re-arranging deck chairs and other observations from the Raiders debacle

While demanding change it an understandable point of view, it would be the wise or prudent course of action for George Paton to take
13 hours ago
kyle fuller...
James Merilatt

George Paton’s “A+ offseason” for the Broncos might need to be re-graded

A lot of the players the Broncos general manager added in free agency and the draft have failed to live up to expectations through six games
2 days ago
Teddy Bridgewater...
Cecil Lammey

Three observations from the Broncos loss to the Raiders in Week 6

Many of the same mistakes that have plagued the Broncos in the past were once again on display in the team's latest loss to the Raiders
2 days ago
Mile High Monday: Opening Day 2.0 comes next Sunday against the Ravens