The Broncos will try to keep their hot streak up Thursday night as they play host to the Jets at home. With Tim Tebow as the starter, the Broncos have won three of their last four to get to 4-5 and they are looking now like a contender in the rather weak AFC West.
As a starter in 2011, Tebow has completed 43 passes for 526 yards while running 41 times for 283 yards. Overall in two seasons, he’s passed for 1,259 yards, run for 547 and combined the two for 20 touchdowns (12 passing, eight rushing) and an 81.8 passer rating.
Below are the keys to the game, as well as our prediction for Thursday night in Denver.
1. Keep Confusing the Jets – Because few of them have faced an option-read offensive scheme since college, extra pressure will be on the Jets’ defense to contend with an attack that ground down the Chiefs last week, and the task could be made tougher by having less time to prepare for this game.
2. Start Fast so the Jets Won’t Have Time to Forget About Last week – Coming off a short week and traveling to altitude isn’t exactly an NFL scheduling gift for Rex Ryan and his team, who are no doubt emotionally-drained after the big loss to their hated rivals. They’ll have to put that game quickly behind on Thursday.
3. Time for Tim to Truly Step Up – Tebow has won games against foes with a myriad of holes, but the one time he faced a better-than-.500 team with an elite defense, he was sacked seven times by the Lions. This will be a similar barometer.
Prediction – More than any of the previous nine, this game could serve as a catalyst for the Jets for the rest of 2011. Win it, and they stay no worse than a game out of first in the AFC East and squarely in the race for a Wild Card berth. Lose it, and they not only tumble toward the back of both those packs, but also begin hearing louder whispers that Ryan’s multi-guarantee mojo is wearing off. On paper, it looks like a New York smothering, but Tebow and those factors ought to at least make it interesting. Jets 28 Broncos 17