After an ugly loss to the now 3-10 San Francisco 49ers, the Denver Broncos come home to host the rather dangerous Cleveland Browns in Week 15. Denver still has a shot to make the playoffs, but would need to get back to winning for that to happen.
Fans are predictably disgusted by last week’s loss. In fact, we’re collectively predicting a 27-24 loss for the Broncos this week.
This graphic probably says a lot more about us fans than this Broncos team as patience has all but run out in Broncos Country with this coaching staff and even the great John Elway himself.
Whether the Broncos win or loss this week matters less than how Elway intends to get this franchise back onto a competitive footing in 2019 and beyond.
In any case, back to predictions. Here is how we saw things at an individual level.
Broncos 24, Browns 13
Every part of my being wants to rage against my team and predict another ugly loss this week. The fact is, this team tends to win and lose games they shouldn’t. It’s a maddening tendency that keeps us all off balance never knowing what to expect. Well, I expect a loss, therefore I’m predicting a win. Case Keenum wakes up from his inaccurate ways and slings the ball around well enough to score 24 points and secure a home victory. And yes, I’ll be the only one today thinking the Broncos come out with a home win. - Tim Lynch
The #Broncos magic number is 24. They are a perfect 4-0 when scoring 24 or more points.— MileHighReport (@MileHighReport) December 15, 2018
In other news, the Broncos have only scored 24 or more points four times this season.
Browns 34, Broncos 24
Both secondaries are suffering, but only one team has the QB to take advantage of it. Mayfield’s playing like a top 5 QB in the NFL since Jackson was fired, & Keenum just can’t compare. Add to that the Browns’ more complete selection of offensive weapons and the Broncos’ inability or unwillingness to attack the middle of the field & it’s a recipe for trouble. If the Broncos are to win, Von Miller & Bradley Chubb must give Baker Mayfield the worst day of his professional career (if their coach will stay out of their way). The only way to keep him from tearing up our secondary is to hit him before he can get the ball out, and that won’t be easy. On offense, the Broncos absolutely must figure out how to scheme to beat stacked boxes designed to shut Phillip Lindsay down. Whether that’s using him differently, blocking for him differently, or getting another offensive weapon to emerge, Bill Musgrave and company absolutely must give the Browns something new and unexpected to deal with or it’ll be a bleak day for the offense. - Taylor Kothe
Browns 38, Broncos 33
Some of the most historic moments in Denver’s franchise history have come against the Browns — The Drive and The Fumble. The Broncos haven’t lost to Cleveland since 1990. In the all-time regular-season series between these two teams, Denver is 20-5. Joseph has a knack for making (horrible) history as the head coach, and that continues on Saturday. Joseph becomes the first Broncos head coach to lose to Cleveland since Dan Reeves. And the Browns do it by the same score as The Fumble. - Ian St. Clair
The #Browns and #Broncos are set for kickoff tonight @broncosstadium. Here is a thread on the history of the rivalry and some things for #BroncosCountry to watch for when these two teams smash helmets. pic.twitter.com/ShQdbrTYYg— Ian St. Clair (@IanStClair) December 15, 2018
Browns 24, Broncos 20
The Broncos have been tough as nails at home. They held the Chiefs and Rams to mortal numbers and they beat the Steelers and Seahawks. This team seems to really clamp down on teams at home, even in defeats. And there’s the operative phrase, “even in defeat” which unfortunately, this will be. Nick Mullens embarrasses us, so what will Baker “without Hue” Mayfield do to us? We don’t have Chris Harris Jr to lock down anybody. We don’t even have Yiadom. Think about that for a second... the player that can’t beat out Yiadom is going to play for us back there. I think Von will semi-wreck the game as will Chubb, especially to give VJ a big middle finger, but it just won’t be enough. Baker Mayfield is their John Elway, and Case Keenum is our Bernie Kosar. “We are NOT the Browns!” Broncos fans will exclaim. You’re right, we aren’t, and that’s no longer a badge of honor! - Pete Baron