The last time the Denver Broncos won a Super Bowl, after the 1998 season, they were built around a dominant defense and didn’t rely on an aging, veteran quarterback, John Elway, to win games. This year’s Denver Broncos team is build around a dominant defense and isn’t relying on an aging, veteran quarterback, Peyton Manning, to win games.

But does Manning have enough juice in the tank to beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots this Sunday and secure a spot in Super Bowl 50?

“I think it’s the question everyone’s waiting to see (answered),” Super Bowl champion and FOX NFL analyst John Lynch said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “You watch Peyton, and it’s clearly not the same guy. He’s still the best there’s ever been from the neck up. He’s putting them in the right plays, but is that enough? I think the answer is it’s enough if your defense is dominant.”

Denver gave up 396 yards of offense against Pittsburgh last week, but limited the Steelers to 2-of-12 on third down and held them to one touchdown in a 23-16 win.

“What we saw versus Pittsburgh wasn’t a dominant defense,” Lycnh said, “(but) they did their job. Pittsburgh moved it all over the field. They didn’t let them in the end zone. But I think what they’re going to need is the type of effort which they’ve had a lot of this year, which reminded me of the team I won a Super Bowl on in Tampa. We were scoring touchdowns on defense. We scored nine touchdowns that year.”

The Broncos have scored four defensive touchdowns and one special teams touchdown this season. They’ve also made pivotal plays in pivotal moments time and time again, as 10 of Denver’s 13 wins have come by seven points or fewer.

“It’s odd to talk about: a Peyton Manning offense is kind of just running the show, not making the big mistake and relying on a great defense,” Lynch said. “But if that’s the formula, which I think it has to be against New England, the defense has got to step up their game. I don’t know if they were rusty or if injuries played (a part, but) they didn’t look like a dominant defense last week – and I think that’s what they’re going to have to be to beat Tom Brady and the Patriots, who have gotten healthy here on their bye week.”

Kickoff from Denver is at 3:05 p.m. ET.


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