Ready For War: The Broncos Schedule Uncovered (Game Four)

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Ready For War: The Broncos Schedule Uncovered (Game Four)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

(This is a continuation of last week's article on game two at the following link:

Game Four at Denver, Sunday 10/04

The game at Oakland was more of a preseason match up for the Broncos. The Broncos revamped defense handled the Raiders all four quarters, allowing only six points. The Denver offense controlled the majority of the game, with their commanding rush attack.  Any time you beat a rival in their own house, the momentum for your team tends to cross over to the next Sunday.

The Broncos welcome the Dallas Cowboys to Investco Field for game four. At 4-0, the Broncos are on a roll.  The Cowboys come in with new faces on a stout defense. They will also be showing flashes of the wildcat offense.

The Cowboys had some key player losses, which may affect their overall performance.  The following list was gathered from Yahoo sports at the following link:;_ylt=Amc7fjhYfQvtWPvYeah.dTSD2bYF?slug=teamreports-2009-nfl-dal&prov=sportsxchange&type=team_report

• OG Joe Berger(notes): UFA Dolphins; 3 yrs, terms unknown.

• LB Kevin Burnett(notes): UFA Chargers; $5.5M/2 yrs, $2M SB.

• DE Chris Canty(notes): UFA Giants; $42M/6 yrs, $8.5M SB/$17.25M guaranteed.

• LB Greg Ellis(notes) (released).

• DT Tank Johnson(notes): UFA Bengals; $620,000/1 yr.

• WR Terrell Owens(notes) (released).

• LB Zach Thomas(notes): UFA Chiefs; $2M/1 yr. 

• S Roy Williams (released).

Gregg Ellis and Zach Thomas were big producers in the defense.  Even though they were not the "super stars"  of the defense, their production will be missed.  Keith Brooking was signed to replace Thomas, but Ellis provided a pass rush presence that the Cowboys will need from someone else in the linebacker corps.

The loss of Roy Williams, may be a good thing for the Cowboys.  He didn't seem to be a good fit for a 3-4 defense.

Chris Canty was a huge loss, but the Cowboys replaced him with Igor Olshanksy, who should be a more than a comparable stand-in.

I'm not a believer in wide receiver Roy Williams and think that he is a hug downgrade from Terrell Owens

With a lot of new faces on both sides of the ball, it's hard to say what the Cowboys will be like this year. 

Here are my predictions of how the game will go:

First Quarter Highlights

On the first possession, starting from their own 35, the Broncos complete a huge 11-play,  13-minute drive, capped off with a five-yard touchdown run by Knowshon Moreno. Six of the first 11 plays are running plays, in which Moreno averages five yards a carry.

With the positive run production, Orton is able to slice and dice the Cowboys defense.  Eddie Royal has 2 catches for 20 yards and Brandon Stokley and Tony Scheffler, both out-run their defenders to add two catches as well.

With two minutes left, the Cowboys control the ball through the rest of the quarter.

Second Quarter Highlights

The Cowboys rushing attack is powerful. Marion Barber averages eight yards on his first three carries. The Wild Cat offense appears to be confusing the Denver defense and they are out of position for most of the drive. The Broncos' defense holds up on their own 20-yard line and forces the Cowboys to kick a field goal. Broncos 7 Cowboys 3.

The Broncos again are able to move the ball on the Cowboys' defense. In an effort to stop the run, the Cowboys attack with a series of blitz packages, which the Broncos counter with an array of screen plays. Moreno, Peyton Hillis, and Correll Buckhalter each gain 10 receiving yards out of the backfield. 

Eddie Royal catches a 50-yard-deep ball from Orton for a touchdown with one minute left in the half.  Broncos 14 Cowboys 3.

Third Quarter Highlights

The Broncos' defense comes out flat, letting the Cowboys offense run-and-gun 80 yards down the field, in an eight minute drive capped off by 15-yard touchdown reception through the middle by Patrick Crayton. Broncos 14 Cowboys 10.

Broncos catch a break with a 50-yard kick return from Eddie Royal. The offense sputters and is forced to kick a 40-yard field goal by Matt Prater. Broncos 17 Cowboys 10.

The Cowboys again are able to run over the Broncos defense. This time, Tashard Choice is the main contributor, with four runs for 40 yards. Romo hits Jason Witten with a cross-the-field post pattern knotting up the game at 17 points a piece.

Fourth Quarter Highlights

With the game tied up, the Broncos go back to a conservative ball-control offensive approach. The Broncos are able to set up a 12-play drive, which gets them to the Cowboys 20-yard line and takes 13 minutes off the clock. The Cowboys defense is able to stop the offense, forcing three incomplete passes in the end zone. The Broncos are forced to kick a field goal with two minutes left in the fourth quarter. Broncos 20, Cowboys 17.

The Cowboys get off to a quick start from their own 20-yard line, with two quick passes to Roy Williams and a screen pass to Marion Barber. With one minute left, the Broncos defense is able to sack Romo at the Cowboys 43-yard line, forcing them to use their second time out. 

On second and third down, the Cowboys are able to move the ball across the 50-yard line with back-to-back runs by Marion Barber, but the Cowboys are forced to use their final timeout.

On first down, the Broncos first round draft choice, defensive end Robert Ayers, is able to charge of the corner and sack Tony Romo on his blind side. With time expiring, the Cowboys run their special teams unit on to the field to complete a 45-yard field goal attempt. The kick is up.....and it is wide right.

The Broncos win this close game 20-17.

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