It’s time for the Broncos to leave the Mile High City and show what they’ve got in a road show.
In what could be a bounce-back NFL season, Denver swept its first two home games, including a 42-17 romp over Dallas that, at times, made the Cowboys look disinterested. On to Buffalo, not the toughest place to play, especially in September, but an away game nonetheless.
The challenge for the Broncos on Sunday is to keep things going; their AFC West Division is the best in the NFL, with Kansas City and Oakland also boasting 2-0 win records.
“We’re not letting up anything,” defensive end Adam Gotsis says. “Whether it’s a three-day turnaround, four-day turnaround or whatever, at work our effort doesn’t drop. That’s something coach (Vance Joseph) preaches: Effort, effort, effort every day — championship habits. If you let that skip for a day or two, that’s a day or two you never get back.”
The Broncos’ five-year playoff streak ended last season. The Bills have not been back to the playoffs in this century, the longest such drought in the NFL. After beating up on the New York Jets, they played staunch defense but forgot to bring their offense to Carolina in a 9-3 loss last week.
On Sunday, Buffalo faces an even tougher defense.
“They do a good job of swarming to the football and they’re stout up front, obviously, with (Von Miller) and what he does and what he brings to the table,” Bills coach Sean McDermott says. “He can wreck a game plan. We’ve got to be aware of where he is and make sure we control the line of scrimmage.”
Week 3 began with the Los Angeles Rams beating the San Francisco 49ers 41-39 in a surprisingly thrilling shootout on Thursday. It wasn’t decided until the Rams prevented a potential game-tying two-point try and then delivered a rare defensive stop after blowing the onside kick.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are 2-0 but their dynamite offense has yet to get going and this could be the week against the woeful Chicago Bears.
Running back Le’Veon Bell soon should recapture the burst and elusiveness that have been tempered by his preseason holdout. Ben Roethlisberger’s passing touch hasn’t been precise. And wideout Antonio Brown hasn’t had a chance to break out all those new celebratory dances the league is allowing after scores.
The winless Bears had better find some ways to win or coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace could be looking for work come the cold days.
The Seattle Seahawks go to Tennessee, where the Titans are considered a rising team. Yet they flopped at home against the Oakland Raiders before manhandling the Jaguars in Jacksonville. Tennessee probably could win the AFC South without beating any good teams, but that’s not really progress, so a victory in this one might be telling.
Then again, are the Seahawks a good team right now? Certainly not on offense, and particularly up front.
With the Los Angeles Chargers’ rookie kicker, Younghoe Koo, missing two late field goals, they have yet to win while representing their new home. And they couldn’t sell out the StubHub Center, which seats under 30,000, for the loss to Miami.
In come the Kansas City Chiefs, who merely have been the NFL’s most impressive team so far. They can run, they can pass, they can kick, and they can play fierce defense.
Coach Andy Reid doesn’t want to hear about how good his team has been.
“So the ebb and flow of the season, that’s how this thing works; you’ve got to have earmuffs on as you go,” Reid says. “People tell you how good you are, you have to counter that with the reality of it, and that’s playing the game.”
The NFL still gets excited about its London matches, and this one at Wembley is the first trip across the pond for the Baltimore Ravens. That makes 26 of the 32 franchises to have played regular-season contests in England.
Baltimore brings a defense Chelsea or Tottenham would be proud of, having allowed only 10 points. Jacksonville brings a schizophrenic bunch that was dominant in its opener at Houston, then submissive vs. the Titans last week.