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Fan Slant: Predicting The Denver Broncos Trip To Hurricane Alley To Take On Tampa Bay

'Fan Slant' is a featured weekly column by Ray Roybal that takes the fan’s perspective each week and breaks down the game, as only a Bronco fan can do! In each column, Ray will share his thoughts on the prior week’s game, the focus point for the game ahead, and predict the final score.

Denver Broncos vs Cincinnati Bengals (Recap)

The City of Denver, and all of Broncos Country, is on a high right now…well, yeah, that kind of high, too, but more importantly due to the Broncos taking care of business in Cincinnati. That was a statement win we just pulled off!

Depending who you talk to in town, you might get a “we knew Trevor Siemian could do what he did” or an “it doesn’t matter what Trevor did, we didn’t draft Paxton Lynch for nothing” remark. The fact of the matter is we are in the here and now, and right now we are winning with Siemian. Siemian’s performance was a great step in the right direction, to say the least. It comes after a week where his two top receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders were vocal about getting the ball more.

Listen, it’s easy for NFLers to look at Siemian through the first two games and say, “Denver is riding the defense again this year and as long as the QB doesn’t lose them the game, they will be in it at the end”.

Gary Kubiak might have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night! Did we honestly think that he would open up the entire playbook to Siemian Week 1 and demand him to make every play possible? Week-by-week we as fans will expect his play to get better and so far that is what has happened. The “almost” interceptions will fade away with Trevor seeing his reads faster. 

By the way, does anyone think Shane Ray is making the most of his playing time? Wow! Talk about being motivated by Von Miller! Ray is another player who is only going to get better. I think we will be saying that a lot this year!

Trip To Hurricane Alley 

Denver Broncos vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Most of the Sunday games the Broncos play on the East Coast are an early start of 11 AM Mountain time. Since this week’s game against the Buccaneers will start at 2:05 PM Mountain time, it gives the Broncos a bit of normalcy. Any bonus we can get we will take!

Focus Point

Denver Defense

While Jeremy Hill and the Cincinnati O-Line were able to quickly run the ball up the middle of the Broncos defensive line, Tampa Bay is not built to follow suit. It’s looking like Doug Martin will miss another week due to injury and Charles Sims will be taking the majority of the running back reps. Sims is a multi-threat RB who catches screen passes out of the backfield. He is also a back that takes what the defense will give him, rather than pushing for space through the middle.

That being said, QB Jameis Winston will be looking early and often for his top targets, Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. I suspect defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will put CB Aqib Talib on the physical Evans, while Chris Harris, Jr. takes Jackson.

If the Broncos defense can get pressure on Winston, flushing him out of the pocket, it will turn into a long, humid day for the Tampa offense!

Denver Offense

Even after the big win last week, there is room for big improvement on offense, and this should be the game to do it. Tampa’s defense is tied for No. 14 in the NFL in rushing yards per game, giving up 98 yards on average. Their passing defense is even worse, ranked 20th in yards per game, giving up 272 yards. They're tied for 4th worst, giving up seven receiving TDs.

Watch for the Broncos to establish a running game early with C.J. Anderson. Uncertain of Virgil Green’s status for the game, Jeff Heuerman and John Phillips will need to step up and establish blocking on the outside of the line.

Dominating the running game will show two things. One, Denver can win on offense in multiple ways and two, they can take their show on road in any environment and be effective

Difference Makers

The offensive difference maker in the game will be the entire offensive line. Pass protection thus far has been very good, but this game expect them to come up big in the run game

The defensive difference maker(s) in the game will be Shane Ray and Derek Wolfe. Tampa is next to last in turnover differental at minus-six. Expect these two defenders to make things happen

Game Ball

My game ball will go to C.J. Anderson. I am expecting C.J. to rush for 120 yards and one TD, with 35 yards receiving.

Score Prediction

Denver 34, Tampa 20

Ray Roybal is Mile High Huddle's Resident Bronco-holic. You can find him on Twitter @RoybalSportTalk.

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