By Abraham Gutierrez
The Fins’ brutal November schedule continues in Week 12 of the 2014 NFL season, as the defending AFC Conference Champion (7-3) Denver Broncos are on deck for the (6-4) Miami Dolphins. Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado, will be the site for this intraconference showdown.
Opening kickoff is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 4:25 p.m. Eastern Time and it will be broadcast live on CBS Sports (CBS-4 Miami). This intraconference showdown should be a good barometer of where Miami is in terms of the AFC playoff picture, as Denver is one of the best teams in the league starting with its offense.
Denver Broncos on Offense
It’s impossible to talk about the Denver Broncos offense without first mentioning future first-ballot Hall of Famer, Peyton Manning (273/407, 3301 yards, 30 touchdowns, 9 interceptions). Highly touted as one of, if not the greatest signal-caller in NFL history, it’s no question that Miami’s secondary will be tested come Sunday afternoon.
The Broncos offensive coordinator is Adam Gase, and his bunch ranks fifth in the league in points per game (29.3), third in total yards (412.9), second in passing yards (323.0), and 27th in the rushing game (89.9). How potent is the Denver Broncos’ offensive attack?
How about the fact that they have Manning, who’s second in the NFL in passing yards, as well as Demaryius Thomas (72 receptions, 1105 yards, 6 TDs) and Emmanuel Sanders (67 receptions, 954 yards, 7 TDs), the first and fifth best wideouts in the NFL in terms of most receiving yards playing in the same team?
However, even Denver’s offense has a weak link, as its rushing game is among the worst in the National Football League. The team’s leading rusher is Ronnie Hillman (91 carries, 378 yards, 3 TDs), followed by Montee Ball (55 carries, 172 yards, TD).
However, according to confirmed reports, the former Wisconsin Badger is expected to miss 2-3 weeks due to a groin injury, while other key players’ status are also up in the air.
“We’re not making excuses. When you lose the likes of Emmanuel, Montee and Julius, it doesn’t help the cause,” said Broncos head coach John Fox. “But we all get paid to win games, whether you’re a backup or starter, and we had opportunities. There were plays left on the field, and we’ve got to improve from that.”
Denver Broncos on Defense
The Broncos defensive coordinator is none other than former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio. His NFL experience includes former defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers, as well as the strength and conditioning coach for the New Orleans Saints.
The Broncos’ defense ranks 16th in the NFL in points per game (22.4), fifth in total yards allowed (316.4), 18th in passing yards (243.0), and second in rushing yards per game (73.4). This defensive unit is anchored by the NFL sack-leader, linebacker Von Miller (42 combined tackles, 28 total, 14 assist, 10.0 sacks), as well as defensive end DeMarcus Ware (28 combined tackles, 22 total, 6 assist, 9.0 sacks).
As far as tackles are concerned, the Broncos’ defensive leaders are: Brandon Marshall (90 combined tackles, 71 total, 19 assist, sack, fumble), Bradley Roby (41 combined tackles, 40 total, assist, sack, fumble), and T.J. Ward (45 combined tackles, 36 total, 9 assist, 1.0) just to name a few.
Dolphins vs. Broncos Head-to-Head
The Miami Dolphins come into this Week 12 clash with a winning record of 11-5-1 in their overall series with the Denver Broncos. Historically, the Fins have outscored the Broncos 370 to 316 respectively, and own an outstanding record of 8-3 in their last 11 meetings.
The last time Miami and Denver met dates back to the 2011 NFL season at Sun Life Stadium, when the Fins lost a heartbreaker in overtime by a final score of 18-15.
For more Dolphins news and updates, visit Dolphins Central.
Abe Gutierrez is a criminal justice admin whose love for sports led him to become a writer and editor. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com and its partners. His work can be found on Examiner.com. .