3rd Place – AFC West
Last Game: beat Jacksonville Jaguars (3-9) 20-10 in Jacksonville
Next Game: at Tennessee Titans (6-6) Sun, Dec 11, 1 pm EST
The Broncos bounced back from a stinging loss to the Chiefs two weeks ago to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
Their offense was atrocious, with rookie QB Paxton Lynch barely breaking the 100 yard passing mark and completing 50% of his passes. Devontae Booker continued to run ineffectively, gaining 35 yards on 19 carries (1.9 YPC). He did score a TD, though.
Their only offensive spark, Kapri Bibbs, is now on IR. He had a sparkling 49 yards on 5 carries (9.8 YPC) before injuring his left ankle. That leaves Booker.
In all the Broncos had 10 first downs, were 7% on third down (1 of 13), and had 206 total yards. And they won. Gotta love that defense.
Or gotta love how terrible Blake Bortles is. Bortles leads the NFL with 15 interceptions after throwing two to the Broncos on Sunday, one to Bradley Roby for a pick-six.
The Broncos offense couldn’t move the ball all day. Lynch looked lost, Booker is nowhere near the decisive runner he was two weeks before C.J. Anderson got injured, the O-line isn’t helping and neither is the play-calling.
But that D, though.
At least the pass D. Jacksonville had 333 yards of offense. They rushed for 154 yards. They ran 81 plays to the Broncos 54, and dominated the game on paper.
The Broncos will not get away with such an anemic offensive effort against a desperate Tennessee Titans team coming off a bye. The Titans are at home, and just watched a healthy Andrew Luck strafe the Jets last night to serve notice the Colts are not going quietly.
They need this game. But the Broncos do too.
Either the Raiders will be 11-2 or both the Chiefs and Raiders 10-3. If the Broncos lose this game, they’re looking at being at least two and possibly three games out of the division lead with three games left.
They’re clinging to a one-game lead over Miami for the wild-card, and Baltimore and Pittsburgh are battling it out. Houston is 6-6. Indy is 6-6. Tennessee is 6-6. Things are getting mighty interesting.
The Titans were scoring points in bunches before the bye. They boast the #2 rushing attack in the NFL behind Mariota, Murray and rookie Derek Henry. That is where the Broncos are vulnerable, and where you can believe the Titans will hit them hardest.
If the Titans play a ball-possession game the way the Jags did and dominate the plays and ground attack, the Broncos will be very tired. 81 plays is a ton for a defense.
Although he isn’t spectacular, the Broncos are better when Trevor Siemian plays – though it’s unlikely he can hang with Mariota either. They’re hoping he’s back from a foot injury this week.
The Broncos are in tough with a young, rested team fighting for a playoff spot and yet another 1 pm start to boot. Their defense showed again last week they can win games for this team, but it’s been less frequent yet more needed this season. Can they do it again Sunday?
They’d better hope because 206 yards of offense isn’t going to win you many games. Even with such a great defense.