There’s one big reason to believe that this season is going to be special for the Denver Broncos.

It’s not the team’s 3-0 record, although that certainly is a great way to jumpstart a trip to Santa Clara in February. It’s not a swarming defense, but that is definitely a phase of the game that has been far from dominant in recent years. And it’s not even a Peyton Manning-led offense, which showed much-needed signs of life in Week 3.

In 2015, the thing that is going to put the Broncos over the top isn’t a player, coach, system or game plan. Instead, the difference maker this time around is a more aggressive attitude.

To put it more bluntly, this Denver team is better equipped to win it all because they finally have some cojones.

Sometimes, the only way to accomplish bold things is to take bold actions. And on Sunday night in Detroit, that’s what the Broncos did, in every way imaginable.

Defensively, Wade Phillips took an aggressive approach from start to finish. Knowing that he has a top-rate pass rush, plus one of the league’s best cover corners, the defensive coordinator did something that most coaches would be afraid to do; he put Aqib Talib one-on-one on Calvin Johnson, relying on his talented cornerback to handle a great wide receiver. And it paid dividends.

Because the Broncos didn’t have to devote two or three defensive backs to Megatron, something that plenty of other teams have done in the past out of fear, they were able to focus on other areas. As a result, Denver’s pass rush was as ferocious as ever, chalking up four sacks on the night, and they stymied Detroit’s running game, allowing just 28 yards on 19 carries.

That’s not something that has been prevalent in the past. Despite having three great cornerbacks and two über-talented edge rushers, Jack Del Rio tended to go very vanilla with his defense. As a result, the Broncos failed to make many plays on that side of the ball. On Sunday night, key plays were once again made by Denver’s defense, including two crucial fourth-quarter turnovers.

But the Broncos offense is also showing plenty of gumption. Against the Lions, they made two huge plays that provided the difference in the game, on decisions that might not have been made in years past.

The first came at the end of the first half, when Denver faced a fourth-and-one from Detroit’s 45-yard line with 13 second to play. Instead of going for a short gain, trying to set up a field goal that would stretch a 7-6 lead to four points before halftime, Manning went for the home-run ball. His touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas provided a huge boost heading into the locker room.

Later in the game, the Broncos offense once again went for the big play when the conservative approach might have been the “smart” play. With 2:32 to play in the game, the Broncos faced a third-and-six from their 11-yard line; given that the Lions were out of timeouts, running the ball to set up a field goal that would stretch the lead to 20-12 at the two-minute warning was what most teams would have done. Instead, Denver let Manning air it out; he threw a touchdown to Owen Daniels that essentially iced the game.

But none of those moments were the gutsiest things that happened on Sunday night. Instead, that occurred before the Broncos ever took the field; it occurred during meetings this week at Dove Valley.

From the outset against Detroit, Denver’s offense wasn’t under center, instead letting Manning line up in the pistol or shotgun formations to make him more comfortable. It was an effective move, as the quarterback had his best game of the season, completing 31-of-42 passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns.

That was a ballsy decision by Gary Kubiak, something that not every head coach would do. Far too many football minds are hell bent on running their system, forcing a square peg into a round hole. But the Broncos first-year leader hasn’t shown that stubborn trait; instead, he changed on the fly, adjusting to what works best for his personnel. Kubiak deserves major kudos for checking his ego at the door and making the necessary changes to get Denver’s offense going.

That mindset is what’s going to make 2015 different for the Broncos. This isn’t a team that’s going to play prevent defense, take a knee or stubbornly stick to a system. Instead, they’re going to turn their talented defense loose, go for the win when the opportunity arises and do whatever it takes to move the football.

And that’s refreshing to see. For the first time in a long time, Denver’s coaching staff has some cojones.