Remember how dominant Denver looked last weekend against Green Bay? The Broncos scored 29 points and put up 500 yards against the previously unbeaten Packers.
Well, Denver is about to get even more dangerous, this after trading for tight end Vernon Davis.
Just how much better will the Broncos be with Davis, who, despite what his recent numbers in San Francisco suggest, is still an elite tight end?
“Well, that’s one thing that Peyton Manning has always utilized throughout his career really well – a tight end, especially in the red zone,” four-time Super Bowl champion Bill Romanowski said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “You see the team this year without Julius Thomas. They miss him like you wouldn’t believe. I think Vernon Davis is going to really open things up for this offense. It’s going to make them more dynamic, and I think Peyton is going to get back on track like he did last week and that will be the way he plays the rest of the season.”
Manning has looked stunningly human this year, with just seven touchdowns to 11 interceptions. He did, however, throw for a season-high 340 yards against Green Bay, displaying a zip on his passes that wasn’t always there in September and October.
While Denver is a lock to win the AFC West, Oakland (4-3) has a decent shot of winning the Wild Card. Can the Raiders beat the Steelers (4-4) at Heinz Field this Sunday?
“Absolutely, they can,” Romanowksi said. “Did you see what they did with the Jets? The Jets are a more physical team than the Steelers. They’re, I think, a better football team than the Steelers. Not as good at quarterback of course. Ben isn’t all the way back yet. I’m sure he’s going to be even better this week, but bring it on. It’s going to be a heck of a football game. But Derek Carr is firing on all cylinders. That offense with Bill Musgrave – Crabtree has been amazing. Amari Cooper, he’s unstoppable. There’s not a guy in the National Football League that can cover him. You saw Revis give him the utmost respect by playing off, and he schooled him at times.”
Cooper has 38 catches for 565 yards and three touchdowns this season. The Raiders’ only losses have come to the Bengals (8-0), Broncos (7-0) and Bears (2-5). In hindsight, the loss to Chicago was a tad perplexing, but for what it’s worth, it came on the road and the Raiders lost by just two points.
Ultimately, though, what is Oakland’s weakness? What is holding the Raiders back from taking that next step?
“Their weakness is covering the pass, and a lot of that has to do with they need to be able to get to the quarterback even better,” Romanowski said. “Aldon Smith, he’s getting pressure, but he’s not getting sacks. Khalil Mack, he’s effective, but they haven’t t taken that next step of dominating the line of scrimmage and really getting to the quarterback. That’s allowing teams to throw the ball downfield on them.”