Don’t look now, but the Denver Broncos could find themselves on a three-game winning streak Sunday afternoon. Many won’t since the season is over and it’s meaningless, but, hey, let’s keep up the talking point it could help in 2018 (it won’t).
After the historic eight-game losing streak Vance Joseph added to his resume, any win is a good win (it’s not). We’ll see how well Joseph leads his team into the nation’s capital on Sunday against a team that isn’t hot garbage. The Washington Redskins aren’t a great team but they’re far superior to the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts.
The good news for Broncos Country: After the Broncos (5-9) game on Sunday in Washington (6-8), there is just one left in this pit of misery that is the 2017 season.
Washington: Thirty-first in overall offense (290.7 yards), 26th in rushing (92.9), 14th in passing (236.9) and 18th in points (21.8).
Denver: Twentieth in overall offense (312.1 yards), 14th in rushing (114.2), 21st in passing (209.6) and tied for 24th in points (18.1).
Washington: Twentieth in overall defense (346.8 yards), 28th in rushing (123.4), 16th in passing (223.4) and 29th in points (25.6).
Denver: First in overall defense (276.8 yards), fourth in rushing (88.1), second in passing (188.7) and 20th in points (23.4).
Here are our keys to the game.
No serious injuries
This is usually reserved for meaningless preseason games. As Adam Malnati and I said on the MHR Radio Podcast, this is a glorified preseason game so the Broncos have to leave D.C. with no serious injuries. I won’t mention names so the writer’s curse isn’t initiated, but regardless of what happens against the Redskins, that will make Sunday a win. That goes for the guy who plays quarterback for the other team. Can you imagine what that would do? - Ian St. Clair
Is @johnelway "scheming" for the #Broncos, & should #BroncosCountry be "excited?" @AdamMalnati16 & I are curious about the prospects on the @MileHighReport Radio Podcast. Also, WTF is a catch?!? https://t.co/Qt9IJXu8XP— Ian St. Clair (@IanStClair) December 20, 2017
Time for Paxton Lynch to show something
If Denver moves to Lynch this week, he will need to do something he has never done in his two-year career in the NFL: Be a functional quarterback. If things are not clicking by now, they will likely never click. These last two games could finally be the last call for Lynch and allow the team to move on from him this offseason. - Tim Lynch
Keep running the ball
The Broncos nailed this key to the game vs the Colts. The quarterbacks threw only 26 times, while C.J. Anderson had 30 rushes by himself with 15 additional runs contributed by various other players. The result? Denver finished with 213 rushing yards. Heck, yeah!
For the second week in a row (and the fifth time this season), the Broncos ran more than they passed and for the second week in a row and fifth time this season, they won. It even worked the week before against the Jets, despite a low yard per carry average, because it let Denver control the pace of the game and kept the defense honest. Running the ball more than you pass it = wins. So Work. The Bloody. Formula. (And get Anderson his 1,000-yard season, dang it!) - Taylor Kothe
Start Brock Osweiler
Keys to winning? Start Osweiler; he's the best they’ve got. Keys to "seeing what the Broncos got?" Play the whole damn roster. Maybe even put Jordan “Sunshine” Taylor at quarterback for a down or two. - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
Pressure Kirk Cousins
(BUT DON’T GET HIM INJURED)
Denver needs to put pressure on Cousins from more than just the edge. There will need to be a push up the middle. Guys like Shelby Harris and Adam Gotsis can have a major impact on the Redskins offense if they can get Cousins off his spot. And if the guys in the middle can get a push up front it will push Cousins to the waiting arms of Von Miller. (BUT DON’T GET HIM INJURED) - Adam Malnati
For the win: Have every Broncos coach and player-personnel staff with their iPads out taking notes on Cousins, and tell the defense to bring their A-game and give an assessment afterwards as well (BUT DON’T GET HIM INJURED). If this team is going to make a big push to sign him this off-season, this is a perfect and rare opportunity to see him up close and in person (AS LONG AS YOU DON’T INJURE HIM). - Jeffrey Essary