Following Brett Favre’s heroic Monday night clinic against his former team, there are now five unbeaten teams in the NFL. The Minnesota Vikings, the New York Giants, and the New Orleans Saints all remain undefeated in the NFC, while the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos are holding down the fort in the AFC.
When you look at these five teams in the same category, only one wasn’t anticipated to be unbeaten coming into the season. It’s the Denver Broncos of course. Really, to have an off-season like these guys had and start off 4-0 is like telling a politician that Congress has reached an agreement on health care. Yeah, it’s not very believable. The Broncos started by replacing the one constant in the Mile High City, Mike Shanahan, with an unproven greenhorn coach – Josh McDaniels. McDaniels’ first move was trading away Jay Cutler, a 26 year old gunslinger and new Chicago savior, since the Bears haven’t had a franchise quarterback since Ronald Reagan was President. They went on to dispute a contract with the multi-talented wide receiver Brandon Marshall, whose only characteristic that matches his skill is his undeniable ability to complain.
The Denver Broncos also made a lot of right moves in the off-season. They hired Mike Nolan, whose head coaching abilities would lead you to believe he coached the Detroit Lions to a 0-16 record last year, but the Broncos noticed this tragic character flaw and hired him to tend to the defense. After all, the Broncos defense couldn’t get much worse than it was a year ago. They ranked 28th overall in the league, and basically punched tickets to opposing running backs with the location listed as: end zone. This year, however, Mike Nolan has proved himself as a 3-4 defense mastermind and has the Broncos shutting teams down one by one, allowing only 26 points in 4 games. They’re smacking teams in the mouth with underappreciated sack artist Elvis Dumervil leading the way. Ball-hawk ing safety Brian Dawkins, tackling machine D.J. Williams, and the always overrated Champ Bailey, who actually looks to be living up to his shutdown corner status this year, are aiding Dumervil on a defense that is only allowing 6.5 points per game this season.
Additionally, the Broncos also made many other moves this off-season which help to explain their speedy, and nonetheless, surprising start. They brought in ex-Eagles safety Dawkins, possibly the most emotional player to step on the field every single week. He is leading the Denver defense with raw emotion and with the expectation that good isn’t good enough. If anyone listened to the commentary of the FOX broadcast of this week’s game versus Dallas, the commentators mentioned Dawkins getting in the face of the rest of the defense when he saw them as playing too soft. How’d the defense react you ask? Well, they held the Dallas offense to a meager ten points and won the game on a goal line stand that probably left Tony Romo crying on the field with his hands on his helmet like the play that ended his career as a holder (Sorry Cowboy fans, I had to).
These off-season fixes among others have the Broncos off to a 4-0 start and begging the rest of the league to ask the question, “Are they for real?” The answer is “yes.” They’ve beaten the Cincinnati Bengals, who defeated the defending Super Bowl champions, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Broncos rolled over the Browns and the Raiders, leaving no doubt that they can’t beat up on inferior teams. Finally, they take down Big D, America’s Team, and a whole bunch of other synonyms that mean the Dallas Cowboys, only bolstering their claim as one of the league’s top-tier teams. With four weeks in the books, the Denver Broncos host the New England Patriots this upcoming Sunday where they look to back up their ‘for real’ tag.