After the Dallas Cowboys defiantly took care of business against the New York Giants, they head to Denver this weekend to take on the Broncos. The Dallas defense will be able to show off their talents in front of former Cowboy, Demarcus Ware, who will be on hand for a halftime ceremony celebrating his Super Bowl tenure with the Broncos. This is a two-part series highlighting the Broncos on defense and offense and how the Cowboys plan to attack their scheme. Let’s take a closer look at the Denver 3-4 defense.
The Denver Broncos have plenty of experience along their defensive line with players like Derek Wolfe, the recently signed Domata Peko, and Adam Gotsis who is subbing in for injured Jared Crick. It is unclear whether Crick will be able to play this week, but Gotsis played well as he recorded five tackles against the Chargers. Look for Shelby Harris to also join the rotation against a Zeke-led rushing attack. The team will certainly miss run-stopper Malik Jackson who has since left for greener pastures in Jacksonville. Think of how well the offense played last week despite Damon Harrison's wizardry - fully expect the Cowboys to take advantage of Denver' interior and run the ball aggressively and unrelentingly. This trio upfront will battle but will rely on the linebackers to bail them out against Dallas’ star-studded offensive line.
Von Miller is arguably the best defensive player in the National Football League and is the leader of this Denver defense. What separates Miller from his counterparts in J.J. Watt and Khalil Mack is that he has made the biggest plays during the biggest moments of the season. He makes plays in the run, against the pass and often finds himself celebrating after a drive-halting turnover or sack. He leads a group with Brandon Marshall, Todd Davis and Shaquil Barrett. Marshall lead the team in tackles last week and Barrett was the only Bronco to have a sack. The strength of this defense is the abundance of edge rushers who will face off against a stellar offensive line. How badly will the Broncos miss Demarcus Ware this week?
Dallas faced a similar test last weekend with a front seven that runs downhill and consistently throws pressure and blitzes from the edge. Dallas was able to neutralize the attack and give up only one sack. In order for Prescott to lead the way, La’el Collins and Chaz Green need to step up again and show they complete the best offensive line in football.
For years now, the Denver Broncos have had one of the best secondary units in the National Football League. They feature Aqib Talib and Chris Harris, both of whom are considered some of the top cornerbacks in football. Their nickel cornerback, Bradley Roby, recorded the only interception last week and will be the primary defender against Cole Beasley all game. They also have Justin Simmons, a rookie last year, who impressed everyone as the only safety in the NFL without a single missed tackle and at least 200 snaps played last season. For reasons that are unclear, the Broncos abruptly released T.J. Ward, a player that went to three consecutive Pro Bowls (2013-2015) and one who had a key interception in their Super Bowl victory. Regardless of why, the Cowboys will benefit from this personnel move.
The Dallas offense has enough weapons to neutralize the Denver defense, and will utilize players like Jason Witten and Cole Beasley to capitalize on missed assignments and gaps in coverage.
After last week’s stellar performance against New York, the Dallas offensive line faces yet another challenging position by facing a studly attack from the Denver front seven. Dallas will be able to win this game if they are able to run the ball and allow Dak Prescott time in the pocket to avoid making tight throws against a pair of star cornerbacks. If Von Miller and company torment Prescott early and often, it will paralyze the Dallas offense and likely lead to a loss. Check back tomorrow for a preview of the Broncos offense and how the Dallas defense will match their game one performance.