GAME PLAN: Denver seems intent on spreading the field and throwing the ball often, even if leaning on a power-based running attack might be more beneficial. Given Denver's injuries at quarterback, chewing up time with the running game might be the most prudent approach.
The Broncos need to get consistent pressure on the quarterback to make sure they don't expose themselves to big plays in the passing game. Denver's defense played pretty well against the run in the preseason and hopes that is a sign the run defense is ready to improve significantly from last year.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Broncos TE Daniel Graham vs. Bengals SLB Rey Maualuga. Graham is one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL, and Maualuga will be starting his first NFL game. That doesn't mean Maualuga, a confident and talented player who played in plenty of big games at USC, will back down. Whoever wins this battle at the point of attack will go a long way in determining how well Denver runs the ball.
Broncos CB Champ Bailey vs. Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco. The last time Denver traveled to Cincinnati was 2004, and Ochocinco had seven catches and 149 yards with Bailey shadowing him. Both Bailey and Ochocinco had down years in 2008 for various reasons, and each seem to be intent on having a bounce-back campaign this year. It will be interesting to see how often Cincinnati throws Bailey's way, or if they ignore his side to pick on Denver's other defensive backs.
INJURY IMPACT: QB Kyle Orton has a right index finger injury. He practiced on Tuesday and Wednesday but hasn't been declared the starter for Sunday's game yet.
--QB Chris Simms, who has an ankle injury, was listed as a limited participant in Wednesday's practice but should be available for Sunday's game.
--RB Knowshon Moreno isn't 100 percent from a knee injury yet, but practiced without a non-contact jersey Wednesday. He had the non-contact jersey on Tuesday. He will probably play if there's no setback this week.
--WR Jabar Gaffney has been practicing with a non-contact jersey this week. He has a broken thumb and is unlikely to play Sunday against Cincinnati.
--G Chris Kuper returned to practice on Wednesday and has a chance to play just two weeks after suffering a high ankle sprain.
--DE Le Kevin Smith has a knee injury. He hasn't practiced this week and is unlikely to play.
--S Josh Barrett hasn't practiced yet this week because of a shoulder injury and might miss Sunday's game.
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