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Broncos @ Jaguars: Turn on the Heat

Ray from Jacksonville: With the weather forecast being in our favor with unseasonably warm weather, how important is it for our running game to dominate the action against a rather average Broncos defensive line? I would think that if we could sustain a few long drives in the first half, a mild-weather team like Denver would be wilting in the oppressive heat and humidity at EverBank Field.

Vic: That’s what happened to Seattle in 2005. The team that returned for the start of the second half was not the same team that started the game. Denver was 26th in the league in run-defense in 2009. You have put your finger right on the tip of the issue for the Jaguars. Run the ball, dominate time of possession and leave the Broncos’ big guys up front gasping for air.

The weather forecasts tell us the humidity in Denver, CO is 0% right now and will be through the weekend. In Jacksonville, FL the humidity is at about 30% and will hover between 30-40% through the week. The assumption that a Denver football team would struggle in the humid heat is understandable and logical, but does it translate to reality? Don't forget that the Jaguars traveled to Pittsburgh in 2007 and defied the odds by beating the Steelers in their own element. So how have the Broncos played in the heat in the past?

These are the hottest games in Denver Broncos history:
Date Game Temp. Final
Sept. 23, 2001 @ Arizona 103 38-17 W
Sept. 11, 1983 @ Baltimore 99 17-10 W
Sept. 9, 1990 @ L.A. Raiders 94 9-14 L
Sept. 3, 1995 vs. Buffalo 91 22-7 W
Sept. 12, 1993 vs. San Diego 91 34-17 W
Sept. 27, 1998 @ Washington 90 38-17 W
Sept. 11, 2005 @ Miami 89 10-34 L
Sept. 16, 2007 vs. Oakland 87 23-20 W
Sept. 4, 1994 vs. San Diego 87 34-37 L
Oct. 3, 2004 @ Tampa Bay 86 16-13 W
Sept. 8, 1985 @ L.A. Rams 86 16-20 L
Sept. 17, 1967 @ Miami 86 21-35 L

These numbers suggest that the Broncos traditionally haven't had much of a problem with heat, but the 2010 Broncos are obviously not the same group of guys as the 1967 Broncos. In fact, most of the Broncos that will play on Sunday weren't on the 2007 Broncos team that is the most recent team to make the list of hottest games.

The 2009 Broncos played their hottest game in Oakland at 70 degrees so their performance in the heat is really a complete unknown. Logic tells us though that the Jaguars would be better conditioned for the heat after practicing through mini camp and training camp in the humid, Florida heat. The forecast for the game is about 91 degrees and 40% humidity according to The Weather Channel. So as far as I'm concerned, turn on the heat.