ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Sometimes, timing works in ways we never imagined. For most, it's simple, the act of hitting five green lights on the way to work or the Zoom meeting going down on a day when you show up late.
For the Broncos, Teddy Bridgewater walked into this job, this season as if he were straight out of central casting.
He is the right man at the right time.
"I have never seen him out of character," rookie running back Javonte Williams told Denver7. "The person you see at practice is the person you see at the games. He's laughing, he's smiling, he's calm. Even when we were in New York in that environment, he never changed. I think that's what we need out of a quarterback."
For a team forever defined by ineffectiveness and change at the most important position in sports, Bridgewater has been a bridge, well, over troubled water. As the 11th different starter since Peyton Manning retired, Bridgewater took over with critics and questions staring him down.
Was he simply a checkdown journeyman? Or Just another veteran keeping the seat warm?
Through two games, he boasts statistics not posted since Manning. Bridgewater, on a year deal, ranks second in completion percentage at 77.1 (54-for-70), 10th in passing yards among quarterbacks with two games, and has zero turnovers for a team that led the NFL in interceptions last season. If he continues this strong play, I wonder if the Broncos will go to him in December with a contract offer.
In the first two games, the Giants and Jaguars sold out to stop the run, daring Bridgewater to beat them. He obliged with four touchdowns. With that, my Denver7 keys to topping the Jets and going 3-0 for the first time since 2016.
Under coach Robert Saleh, the Jets will play with high energy, flying around to the ball. But they don't have the talent yet to make consistent plays. New York has one takeaway this season and no picks. The Jaguars sacked Bridgewater three times last week. But can the Jets do that without blitzing? Bridgewater is 17-for-17 vs pressure for two touchdowns, according to TruMedia, and he's distributing passes to nine players per game.
Good luck, Zach
I would not wish Zach Wilson's performance last week on my worst enemy. He had four interceptions in first 10 passes. He offers reminders of Drew Lock as he tries to figure out how to take care of the ball and take chances. I would expect him to be boring this week, but unable to avoid the rush. The Jets offensive line has allowed a league worst 10 sacks. I expect four from the Broncos on Sunday, including one from Von.
It's hard enough to play at altitude, but throw in a fang-bearing, full-throat crowd and the challenge increases. The Broncos will have a full stadium for the first time in 637 days. This team inspires hope, gives fans a reason to go nuts and affect the outcome, especially on third down. The Broncos did not win their first home game last season until Nov. 1. That time line will speed up Sunday. This noise should bring shades of 2015-16.
Run it up
The Broncos are the only team to win their first two games by double digits. Their opponents remain winless. However, Denver need not apologize for impressive victories on the road. Is this the game the running attack takes over as the Jets try to stop Teddy first? The Broncos rank fifth in rushing yards per game at 130.5, but 70 yards came on one Melvin Gordon burst in the opener. The Broncos are committed to showing more consistency on the ground as it bleeds into their desire to win time of possession (they rank first at 37 minutes per game).
The Broncos' best player on the field last week -- with apologies to Courtland Sutton -- was Kareem Jackson. After years as a corner, Jackson continues to evolve and improve as a safety. He brings the noise and big plays. His communication with Justin Simmons should result in two interceptions this week for the secondary.
Slow the run
The only way the Jets have a chance to keep their offense on schedule is to run the ball. They showed improvement last week with the three-headed monster of Mike Carter, Ty Johnson and Tevin Coleman. Carter is a rookie and Javonte Williams' former running mate at North Carolina. Stop the run -- the Broncos rank fourth at 67.5 yards per game -- and this will be a comically easy win.
Please stop the madness
The Broncos special teams produced its weekly cringe-worthy moment, allowing a kickoff return for a touchdown that gave the Jaguars, if only briefly, life. There's no excuse for players taking the wrong angles, looking for the big hits. The onus is coordinator Tom McMahon and the improved athletes to figure it out. Eventually, their lapses are going to cost the Broncos a game in a season when they will be riding on the edge of the postseason for months.
Troy's prediction: Broncos 30, Jets 10.