The skinny

The Broncos sandwiched four victories around an overtime loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks in Seattle. Quarterback Peyton Manning is playing at an MVP level once again — he won the award last season — and showing no signs of slowing down as he nears his 39th birthday. As usual, they go into every game with the intent of overwhelming the opponent with a relentless passing attack that features numerous options — Julius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker, to name a few. Defensively, the Broncos added several key players this season, in addition to getting back linebacker Von Miller from injury.

Players to fear/Offense

Manning. He has 15 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He goes into Sunday’s game against the 49ers three touchdowns passes shy of breaking Brett Favre’s NFL career record (508).

Julius Thomas. He already has nine touchdowns, which is the most for a tight end in NFL history through five games and tied for the most by any receiver.

Demaryius Thomas. He has 31 receptions for a team-high 491 yards and four touchdowns. He amassed 350 of those yards and three of the touchdowns in the past two games.

Players to fear/Defense

CB Aqib Talib. He has made Broncos fans forget about long-time favorite Champ Bailey being jettisoned. Talib has an interception and seven passes broken up.


Advertisement


LB DeMarcus Ware. He has four sacks and a forced fumble and looks rejuvenated with his new team.

Miller. He has a team-high six sacks and has teamed with Ware to give the Broncos the kind of two-sided pass rush they missed last season.

Key numbers

29.4 — Average points scored per game, third-best in the league this season.

110.5 — Manning’s passer rating, which is second-highest in the league.

76.8 — Average yards rushing allowed per game through five games, fourth-best so far.

6 — Times …read more