Denver Broncos fans tend to lose their minds and their confidence whenever the Oakland Raiders serve up a beating on prime time. Mix in the red hot New Orleans Saints and you have a recipe for gloom and despair.
The consensus score prediction between the Mile High Report staff and Brandon Perna from That’s Good Broncos is a depressing 27-19 Broncos defeat. It wasn’t all bad as some of us decided to remain optimistic.
Here are our individual score predictions and we’ll start with everyone who is down on the Broncos.
Saints 43, Broncos 17
Ah New Orleans, my absolute favorite city in the world. No other place on earth can conjure up the feelings and emotions and excitement as the Crescent City, where even the Churches have a 2 drink minimum. The smells, the sights, the food. From Cafe Beignet on Royal to the Oak Street Po Boy Festival, to Jazz Fest, to Mardi Gras, to Mothers on Poydras, and the best catfish I've ever had at O'Henry's on Carrollton Ave, no other place can touch it. But we have a game to play on Sunday when Who Dat Nation hosts the defending World Champion Denver Broncos. Don't get me wrong, my love for New Orleans and my love for the Saints (my second favorite team albeit a distant second to the Broncos) wont' affect my prediction at all. The Broncos lead the league in 3 & Outs, but thankfully the Saints have no real defense. Then again, neither did the Falcons and Raiders, right? Ugh, if our offense can't exploit teams with zero defense, then how can we keep up with Drew Brees and the boys on offense? Look, I'm not picking against the Broncos so much as I'm picking against the Broncos offense and the banged up Broncos defense. I'm sorry, but we are too injured on defense, and for whatever reason, our offense flat out stink worse than Bourbon Street at 4am. Unleash Siemian or bench him, but you can't keep coddling him and flushing our season down the toilet to protect him. Tear that band aid off or get to moving to the next option. My Prediction? PAIN! - Pete Baron
Saints 27, Broncos 17
Denver has gone from having a juggernaut defense to having a really good defense that can be run on consistently. Meanwhile, on the other side of the field, our offense has gone from "finding their way" to "where's the 1st down marker?" Don't get me wrong, this team is still very talented and absolutely can pull out the win. That being said, it seems the coaching on the offensive (literally) side of the ball can't innovate their way out of a wet paper towel which is catching up to the defense that has some serious holes. I'm not excited about our chances even against a mediocre team like the Saints. - Sadaraine
Saints 31, Broncos 13
Most seasons it’s a challenge for any defense to contain Drew Brees and his Saints offense. This season New Orleans has a wrinkle it’s been searching to get for quite a while: A running game. In last week’s thrashing of the San Francisco 49ers, the Saints rushed for 248 yards. But the real evidence of a running game came against the Seattle Seahawks when New Orleans had 35 carries for 123 yards in the 25-20 win. The Broncos vaunted defense, meanwhile, just gave up 218 to the Oakland Raiders, and saw the damage done in the second half by basically two running plays. There’s only so much the Denver defense can do and that’s when it’s completely healthy. The defense knows with this awful Broncos offense and even worse quarterback, it has to play perfect. This game could get ugly quick, and any hope Denver’s offense could keep pace with Brees and the Saints just vanished like beads during Mardi Gras. - Ian St. Clair
Saints 31, Broncos 20
The Broncos are down Derek Wolfe and Aqib Talib. Brandon Marshall isn't 100% because of a hamstring injury, and the Broncos are heading east to take on the high-powered New Orlean Saints offense. To make matters worse, they're playing an early game inside the loud and crazy Superdome. You know the crowd will be extra pumped to watch their team against the defending champs.
All that sounds awful and I haven't even started talking about the Broncos offense. Trevor Siemian continues to start out slow and could be playing for his job this weekend. His completion percentage is free falling week in and week out and he has struggled against some of the weaker defenses in the league this year, so I have no faith in him again this week. More throws to the left and 3rd down passes short of the sticks.
If the Broncos want any chance to win this game, they need rookie Devontae Booker to have a good game, some timely plays by Siemian and the defense to somehow stop the run while stopping Brees and his long list of weapons.
I don't like the Broncos chances. They will be heading into their bye 6-4, fighting for their playoff lives and seriously mulling a quarterback change. - Scotty Payne
Saints 23, Broncos 20
This game to me isn't even about winning or losing. This is about how the Broncos respond to getting their teeth kicked in by a division rival. This is about how they respond to having key leaders from the best defense in football injured. This is how they respond to the warranted criticism that has come their way from fans and the media around offensive efficacy and effort.
If they respond looking lethargic and despondent, yet somehow come away with a win due to a key turnover, like they have so often this season, that's not good enough. If they respond by fighting to the last minute and yet come up short due to injuries on defense and inexperience on offense, so be it. But at least put up a fight.
At this point that's all I'm asking and hoping for. Look like you came prepared and want to win this game, even if they don't. - Jeff Essary
Saints 23, Broncos 13
My faith in the Denver Broncos has hit a new low. I was never a big Tim Tebow fan, but at least he played with the kind of fire and passion that could keep his team in any game. Sorry folks, but Trevor Siemian just doesn’t have the same feel. I would argue that Siemian is probably a better quarterback skill-wise (I mean he doesn’t throw bounce passes all day) but if you are looking for fiery passion and leadership, you are on the wrong side of the ball. The Broncos defense is starting to look like a unit that is spending a lot of time on the field. The injuries are piling up, and fatigue is hurting this team.
Denver is not traveling into a place that is kind to visitors. New Orleans may not be world beaters, but Drew Breese is still one of the best in the business. His offense is explosive, and high scoring. The Broncos will likely be without Aqib Talib for another week. Derek Wolfe will be on the shelf. Brandon Marshall is not 100%. The cupboard may not be bare, but it certainly isn’t full. If the offense was reliable, I might not have to make this prediction. However, I just don’t see the offense being able to score enough to hang with New Orleans. The Saints won’t run it up, but they will outscore a Broncos offense that has made pedestrian defenses look impenetrable. - Adam Malnati
Broncos 14 , Saints 13
I never pick against the Broncos. I love my Orange and Navy glasses even when they look pretty beige. This game is going to take me dragging out my old cheerleading uniform and Pom poms and my daughter's, too. Maybe a niece's, as well. Here goes the old college try...
Our #NoFlyZone is missing a wing, but I'm cheering for Roby to have a make-up session. I'll provide the smokes. Kilgo will be activated and along with Billy Winn will find a way to make the line a Winner (yeah, I'm corny).
Last week, Siemian was forced to throw to the right because the left was shut down. He didn't do too bad. Maybe this will give him or the coaching staff some confidence to try the middle, too. Derby and Green will give Siemian his desperately needed dump off guy. Andy Janovich's hand will be healed enough to help Devontae Booker get more yardage.
New Orleans has a defense that is truly putrid. Our offense can't keep missing week after week against all these bottom of the barrel defenses. Can it? If it is, and we drop to 6-4, the season is gone. No way we beat KC twice and NE*. Kubiak will be forced to throw the towel in on the season and do what he should've done from the jump, toss Lynch in and chalk this year as a rebuild. Use the reaming games as a preseason and work towards next year. - Julie Dixon
Broncos 16, Saints 14
The Broncos are 4-0 against the Saints, who last defeated the Broncos way back on Christmas Eve, 1994. If the Broncos had played the Saints last season, or even the start of this one, we could be fairly certain they'd come away with the win. But with our appalling offense and now questionable defense (albeit due to injuries), the uncertainty is palpable.
Some are saying the Saints are the most prolific passing team in the league. And their last game was perfectly balanced -- passing and running were almost even in their first 15 plays. That's enough to make us shake a little in our boots. Because, as we all know, Kubiak loves passing -- and lots of it. With Siemian under center, our pass-to-run ratio was 72 percent against the Raiders last week. New Orleans defense isn't great. But in previous weeks, Denver’s offense struggled against defenses they should've been able to eat up.
To say they're struggling to find an equilibrium is an understatement. If by some miracle they can move that ball down the field and get some key turnovers, the Broncos can perhaps hobble away with a win. We need this. Desperately. - Yvonne Hew
Broncos 17, Saints 16
We are 6-3 and the wheels are coming off! Not so fast, yes a loss Sunday would spell big trouble for this Broncos team but we are still 6-3 going in and at worst we will be 6-4 going out. Not ideal but not the end of the world either. I think a lot of fans are panicking because 6-4 is uncharted territory for this team considering the last 5 years.
All of that being said, Sunday's match up against the Saints is going to be a tough one. The Broncos are still banged up on defense and once again will miss Aqib Talib with his big play ability and nasty attitude on the edge. Many in the New Orleans media are claiming that Drew Brees appears as healthy and comfortable as he's been in years and the Saints are on a roll. That's scary for any team to hear especially a slumping one with injuries in the defensive secondary. The Saints offense is scary and if Denver finds themselves in a shootout with this offense Denver will not win and will likely lose big.
The blueprint for this Broncos team is the same blue print teams have been using against Brees and the same blue print for beating Peyton manning in his prime; run the ball, keep Brees on the sideline where the only thing he can do is stand on his tippy toes to see the Broncos grind out hard yardage. The only problem, we don't have that kind of running game. Each week the run game is a must for us and each week we are disappointed. This week is simple, of the run game isn't there then Denver falls to 6-4 and a dramatic bye week looks to be in order.
If Denver finds its groove in the run game, then it will be 7-3 and a relaxing bye week will be just what this team needs. My heart says Broncos win. My mind says 6-4. Given the inner conflict I must appeal to my gut - Broncos find a way to party in the Big Easy and pull out a squeaker. - Derek Ahrnsbrak
Broncos 23, Saints 21
When I go to NOLA, my favorite place to visit is Preservation Hall and listen to its authentic jazz band play “When the Saints Go Marching In.” That apocalyptic song reminds me that I never want to hit Judgment Day and have to acknowledge that I picked against the Denver Broncos. So I won’t. But I won’t pretend it won’t take a miracle on Sunday for this beat-up and beaten down defending Super Bowl championship team to get a road win over the high-flying Saints. Luckily, I believe in miracles. “Oh Lord I want to be in that number...” - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
Broncos 34, Saints 24
I predicted a loss yesterday on The Afternoon Drive, but after reading all of this despair I’ve decided to rethink my position. Whenever the Broncos are on the ropes, they somehow find a way to get off them swinging.
Trevor Siemian will have his best game of his career and the offense just goes bonkers for a road romp over the Saints. It’s tiresome being down on a 6-3 team day after day. I woke up this morning feeling positive and, dammit, this team is going to win tomorrow! - Tim Lynch