Von Miller’s Likely Suspension Handcuffs Denver Broncos Super Bowl Plans

0Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller is set to miss the first six games of the 2013 regular season for violating NFL’s substance abuse policy. It was originally believed that Miller’s initial appeal was for a four-game suspension, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter of ESPN, two of the most respected inside sources in league circles, reported on Monday that Miller is likely facing a six-game ban. 

Von Miller is facing a six-game suspension for violation of the league’s substance policy, according to league sources, but the sides still are negotiating as representatives of theDenver Broncos linebacker are trying to get the ban reduced to four games.

This means that the best-case scenario for Miller and the Broncos is the four-game suspension that it was originally reported he was going to appeal.

The story continues…

Miller is not likely to go forward with an appeal, though all sides were trying to finalize the suspension’s conditions.

While missing Miller for up to six games will hurt the Broncos through the first half of the season, it likely wont have an impact on their ability to win the AFC West. The difference in talent between Denver and the other three teams in the division is big enough to make up for Miller’s absence.

The issue here is playoff seeding.

If Denver is unable to acquire a first-round bye or home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, the likelihood of it winning the AFC decreases a great deal.

Peyton Manning possesses a 2-5 career postseason record on the road and has thrown six touchdowns compared to nine interceptions in those seven outings. Including his two-interception performance against Baltimore this past January, Manning has lost three of his four starts in open-air environments and has thrown as many touchdowns (nine) as interceptions (nine) in those four starts.

Put Manning and the Broncos in an cold open-air environment on the road in the postseason and things aren’t on their side in terms of coming away with a victory.

One of Denver’s first four games is against a team that finished above .500 last season. That comes in the form of the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1. Denver’s fifth game is on the road against Dallas before it hosts the Jaguars in Week 6.

It’s the two games after Miller is likely to return that should concern fans in Denver. This is a team that is more than capable of winning four or five of those first six games without the services of its best defensive player.

That being said, mid-to-late October matchups against Andrew Luck and the Colts as well as Robert Griffin III and the Redskins could be worrisome. Elvis Dumervil, who departed to Baltimore in free agency, and Miller accounted for 62 percent of Denver’s quarterback pressures this past season. With Miller only getting back into game condition during these first two weeks, there could be some major issues as it relates to getting pressure on Luck and RGIII. Add in the injury issue as it relates to cornerback Champ Bailey and this should be cause for alarm.

Denver must hit the easier part of its schedule (San Diego, Kansas City, Kansas City, Tennessee and San Diego) in a six-game stretch from mid-November to mid-December somewhere near the top of the rankings in the AFC if it expects to nab home-field.

If that doesn’t happen, all of the planning to create a consistent title contender over the past couple seasons could come crashing down on John Elway and Co.

That’s the truth.

Vincent is the head sports editor at eDraft, co-host of eDraft Sports Radio (which airs every Monday and Wednesday from 3-6 p.m. ET) and a fantasy writer for Pro Football Focus. He’s also the news director here at PFC and co-host of Football Debate Central with Ryan Riddle every Friday. He’s also a former league-wide featured columnist at Bleacher Report. 



  1. AnthonyRod33 says

    The Giants also finished above .500 last season at 9-7.