Copycats Find Success

In a league influenced by imitation, one has to expect teams to clone successful strategies.

The NFL has always been a copycat league. Recent trends include the proliferation of the 3-4 defensive scheme to the Wildcat formation brought back by the Dolphins last season.

The Giants' secondary was exposed in a blowout loss in New Orleans three weeks ago. Opponents watched that film closely - and will continue to follow the Saints' blueprint until the Giants fix their issues. They haven't won since and have gone from 5-0 to third place in their own division.

The Broncos better hit their own film room hard this week. After bolting out to a 6-0 start, they were manhandled at Baltimore. Was it a fluke, or did the Ravens expose fatal flaws in Denver's Cinderella story?

One of the criticisms of quarterback Kyle Orton is his struggles to complete passes more than 10 yards downfield. That came into play in Baltimore when the Broncos fell behind by multiple scores in the second half.

Can Orton bring Denver from behind when the running game becomes a nonfactor?

The defense held up reasonably well, allowing 292 total yards. However, the Ravens were able to control the clock on the ground even when the Broncos knew Baltimore would turn to its power ground game with the lead.

"We expected to play a whole lot better than what we did, but we'll be OK," said Broncos wide receiver Jabar Gaffney. "We'll bounce back and get back to working to be ready for the next one."

The next one is at home against defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh. It's another playoff-caliber team against which Denver can prove it truly is among the contenders in the AFC.

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