Around the NFL  

 

Larry Fitzgerald: Broncos will be in AFC Championship

Print

Denver Broncos stars Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker all reached milestones or set records in Sunday's 41-20 rout of the Arizona Cardinals.

The team's brilliance on both sides of the ball left an impression on Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

"Everyone talks about Peyton's offensive weapons, but what they did on defense has made a huge difference, too," Fitzgerald told NFL Media columnist Michael Silver on Sunday. "Their pass rush is a whole different animal now. (DeMarcus) Ware, Terrance Knighton ... those guys are good. They're going to be in the AFC Championship Game."

The Around The NFL Podcast's Week 5 recap echoed Fitzgerald's sentiments, noting the offense is finally flirting with record-breaking 2013 form now that Thomas is over his nagging early-season foot injury.

It's the defense, though, that caught our eye on Sunday.

Von Miller appears to be fully recovered from ACL surgery, excelling in run defense while adding 1.5 sacks and four quarterback hits -- including the one that knocked Drew Stanton out of the game. Miller is back in the conversation for the most dominant defensive player not named J.J. Watt.

Between Miller and a reinvigorated Ware, the Broncos boast the most feared pass-rushing tandem in the league in addition to an upgraded secondary that ranks in the top 10 in opposing passer rating.

Back in March, Bill Belichick and John Elway appeared to be engaged in a win-now, pay-later arms race for control of the AFC.

While the Broncos are reaping the benefits of Elway's offseason maneuvers, Tom Brady is left to wonder why Manning's edge in surrounding talent has grown since the Patriots were stonewalled in January's AFC Championship Game.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Week 5 game and tells you who's leading the pack for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL Now.

Print