For nearly a decade the Denver Broncos have been the NFL's premier rushing team. From Terrell Davis to Clinton Portis, thousand yard rushers have become a dime a dozen at Dove Valley. This year's installment, Quentin Griffin, is no exception and is expected to meet or exceed his five predecessors, despite being the smallest of the bunch, standing a mere 5'7", 195 lbs..
Standing in his way is Sunday's opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team balanced on the opposite side of the spectrum. In the past two seasons no team has allowed fewer 100-yard rushers than the Jaguars. In fact, Jacksonvilee holds a sixteen game streak of holding running backs to fewer than 100-yards, the best of any NFL team.
Call it a huge test for the Broncos offense.
Call it a huge test for the Jaguars defense.
Either way it boils down to the same thing. Two top teams in the National Football League, each doing what they do best, in search of their second win of the season.
"They're a running team, we're a good run-defense, so this is a big challenge," Jaguars defensive end Paul Spicer said, well aware of the challenge facing a Mike Shanahan offense presents.
"If you run sideways with them, it's going to be a long day for you," said Spicer. "It doesn't matter who's back there. If they stick to what Mike Shanahan does, they can be successful. Let his backs find the hole. If we do our job, there won't be any holes," Spicer added.
Under rookie head coach Jack Del Rio, the Jaguars defense completely shut down Buffalo in their opening game, holding the Bills to less than 3-yards per carry, with only two runs covering 10-yards or more.
Sunday's game may prove a bit more challenging.
"They're talented players," Broncos fullbackis quoted on the teams official website. "Not only is their run defense pretty good, but their pass rush is too."
Sixteen consecutive games and Jacksonville has yet to give up 100-yards to a single rusher.
"We'll get a severe test this week. This is a team that knows how to run the football," Del Rio said. "Being able to stop the run is important. I've made that very clear."
"They're a good defense," said Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer. "Their interior line is going to be a challenge for us. I think our line will be ready but they have some real young good players on the (defensive) line there that really play at a high level. Their corners cover well outside too, so all around it's going to be a good challenge for us."
Denver Broncos or the Jacksonville Jaguars, the challenge begins at 1:00 EDT.
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