Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 12/21/12
Dawn has broken on December 21, 2012 and I’m relieved to report the locusts have yet to swarm, the rivers have not turned red and there’s no sign of fire and brimstone falling from the sky…so far.While that’s great news for mankind, that’s bad news for those hoping the Browns would avoid double digits in the loss column for the ninth time in 10 years.The following are three bold predictions that actually have a chance of coming true.Take notes my Mesoamerican friends.1. Veteran leaders like Champ Bailey and Peyton Manning will not allow Denver to get overconfident.Although Denver struggled against a bad Chiefs team in Kansas City and lacked the killer instinct that Thursday night in Oakland, neither outcome was really in doubt for very long. Both of those matchups were legitimate trap games because the following week’s opponent posed a larger challenge -- Tampa Bay and Baltimore respectively.San Francisco’s impressive victory in New England last week leapfrogged Denver into the coveted No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs. However, the Broncos hold a one game lead over the Patriots, so they must win out to guarantee a first round bye and a home game in the divisional round.Denver is currently favored to win this game by 13 and I wouldn’t start selling all my post-apocalyptic supplies in order to bet the house - or the bomb shelter - that Cleveland will cover that spread.2. Brandon Weeden will have a new appreciation for a Rocky Mountain sunset with all the time he’ll spend on his back.Weeden’s perspective of the Front Range was quite different during his visit to Boulder in his Oklahoma State days.Even though Cleveland has a great offensive line, Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio will dial up the blitzes after Mike McCoy’s offense delivers him an early and substantial lead. And with all the talk about San Francisco’s Aldon Smith and Houston’s J.J. Watt, you can bet Von Miller is starving for a sack lunch to keep his name in the Defensive MVP conversation.Don’t expect fellow rookie Trent Richardson to relieve his quarterback with a good day on the ground either. Denver has built the best running defense in the league during their 10-game winning streak, surrendering a stingy 67.3 yards per game. Obviously that stat is aided by the fact that offenses tend to abandon the run when they get behind. Kickoff will be the last time Cleveland is even with Denver on Sunday.3. Knowshon Moreno will feast on garbage yards.The reigning AFC Player of the Week is primed for an encore performance against the porous Browns' run defense. Cleveland ranks 19th in rush defense, but they’ll look even more impotent after Manning picks apart their 25th ranked pass defense.If you’re fortunate enough to still be alive in your fantasy playoffs, start everyone with a “Den” next to their name.Here’s another tip you can take to the bank: whatever the line is on how many times Denver will loop highlights of The Drive and The Fumble during pregame warm-ups…bet the over.
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