In Wednesday's edition of the "Around The League Podcast," I noted that the Denver Broncos' offense has a chance for a historic season, along the lines of the 2007 New England Patriots.
One of the primary reasons for that optimism is the Broncos' emphasis on playing faster in a heavy no-huddle attack, which has been cribbed from the 2012 Patriots -- via new Philadelphia Eagles mastermind Chip Kelly.
"You want change of pace," Broncos coach John Fox told NFL Media's Michael Silver. "Just like a pitcher -- you don't throw all fastballs. The good ones throw different speeds. They throw curves and sliders and change-ups. That's the trend. Call it the 'Chip Kelly Effect'. We fell victim to it a year ago in New England. We kind of stole it from them, really."
In a copycat league, who can blame aggressive new coordinator Adam Gase for adopting strategies from the best minds in football?
To an offense that finished second only to the Patriots last season, the Broncos have added Wes Welker and athletic tight end Julius Thomas to provide a sustaining element in the passing game. Both players are upgrades in speed and playmaking ability compared with 2012's Brandon Stokley and Jacob Tamme.
This is a nightmare scenario for opposing defenses.
Among all NFL receivers last season, Demaryius Thomas (126.2) and Eric Decker (123.7) finished Nos. 1 and 2 in passer rating, respectively, on throws in their direction, according to Pro Football Focus. Peyton Manning now can direct a true pick-your-poison attack, exploiting mismatches underneath and in the seam with Welker and Thomas while connecting on shot plays outside the numbers and down the field with Thomas and Decker.
The reigning Super Bowl champions will be the first to test their mettle against Manning's fast-break offense Thursday night. If Manning has no trouble gutting the Baltimore Ravens' improved defense, it's going to be a harbinger of hopelessness for the rest of the league this season.