Aug 17, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker (83) makes a catch in front of San Francisco 49ers strong safety Jimmie Ward (25) in the first quarter at Levi
News that Denver Broncos’ wide receiver Wes Welker had been suspended four games hit the NFL and its followers hard late Tuesday and early today. At the risk of venturing into vulture territory, Welker’s suspension could provide a decided boost to the Cincinnati Bengals.
The most direct effect will be any lingering rust that Welker may have when the two teams meet in Cincinnati on December 22.
Welker will not be eligible to practice or play with the Broncos until October 6, so it will be interesting to see how he meshes with whatever quilt work Peyton Manning is able to put together by that point. Welker will likely come back strong, but there are no guarantees in the NFL.
More from Cincinnati Bengals
- Terrell Pryor Foolishly Posts Cincinnati Bengals Minicamp videos to Twitter
- AJ McCarron and Bengals: Pryor’s Release Shows QB Confidence
- Reds and Royals Series Preview
- 2015 NFL Draft: Cincinnati Bengals Prep Sheet
- Cincinnati Bengals to Sign Free Agent DE Michael Johnson
More subtle, but probably more significant, is the effect that Welker’s absence will have on the Broncos. Before Welker comes back, Denver will have played the Indianapolis Colts, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Arizona Cardinals.
That’s a tough schedule, even with your team at full strength. Without Welker, there is a decent possibility that the Broncos emerge from the first quarter of the season at 0-4.
If that happens, it will be a steep hill for the Broncs to climb into the playoffs. A Denver-less postseason would not be great for TV ratings, but it would make the road to the Super Bowl that much easier for any AFC teams with designs on a championship, and that includes the Cincinnati Bengals.
Any time you can weaken Goliath, you have to like David’s chances of pulling off something big. Welker’s troubles give the Bengals and the rest of the AFC a chance to line up their stones and draw a target on Peyton Manning’s aspirations.