All it takes is one win.
For the first time in nine games, the Denver Broncos (1-4) got that winning feeling again. Now that they have experienced it, they want to feel it again. Come Sunday against the Tennessee Titans (2-3), we’ll see if winning really is contagious.
On the MHR Radio Podcast (Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify), Adam Malnati and I want to see positive trends for the Broncos on Sunday. Denver needs to build on its win over the Los Angeles Chargers and put a winning streak together before fans are able to alter how they think about this season. We also give our players to watch and keys to Sunday’s game.
Tennessee: Twenty-seventh in overall offense (307.8 yards), 16th in rushing (115.6), 28th in passing (192.2) and 23rd in points (19.6).
Denver: Nineteenth in overall offense (349.4 yards), 14th in rushing (118.6), 19th in passing (230.8) and tied for 26th in points (18).
Tennessee: Ninth in overall defense (332.2 yards), 14th in rushing (104.8), 10th in passing (227.4) and sixth in points (15.2).
Denver: Seventh in overall defense (328.6 yards), 22nd in rushing (126.4), fifth in passing (202.2) and 10th in points (21.2).
Here are the MHR staff’s keys to Sunday’s game.
Set the tone offensively
The last two games, the Broncos offense has gotten off to quick starts and given their defense a lead. When I said earlier that Denver needs to develop positive trends, one area it can do that is to finish teams off when it gets the chance. Don’t allow Tennessee to stay in the game. Find that killer mentality and bury your opponent with another touchdown drive in the first half to make it a three-score game. — Ian St. Clair
Win the turnover battle
It’s no coincidence that the team’s first game with a turnover forced this season (much less three) was also the team’s first win. With two pretty solid defenses on the field, the team whose offense coughs up the ball more will most likely be the team that loses. And that may be no small challenge, considering the Broncos have suffered seven turnovers on offense so far this season, while the Titans offense has only lost the ball once. Discipline will be absolutely necessary on both sides of the ball. — Taylor Kothe
We have seen Denver come out and take big leads in the games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Chargers, only to be forced to scramble at the end on both sides of the ball. The fast offensive starts have been great, but continuously allowing your opponent back in the game is a recipe for disaster. If the Broncos want to get their first home win this season, a solid offensive performance in the second half is absolutely necessary. — Adam Malnati
Execution on defense
For this game, the focus needs to be on the defense continuing to build its knowledge and execution of the Vic Fangio defense. The offense could do some things too, but the biggest worries and problems for this Broncos team have been the execution and ability of a depleted defensive roster implementing a new system that is very unfamiliar to the players. They need to build on the positive tweaks that were made last week, wrap up ball carriers, and play sound scheme against a quarterback who can beat you with his feet. If the defense can play like it did last week, the offense will only need 17 points to win this game. With a stacked rushing attack, that’s something I’m confident this offense can do. — Sadaraine
Not so much throwing
Denver must limit Joe Flacco to 20 passing attempts. Emphasis on the run game will win the game for the Broncos. Offense needs to score more than 20 points to win. If Royce Freeman rushes the ball 20 times, he’ll go over 100 yards. Look for Phillip Lindsay to be utilized in the passing game. — Luke Patterson
Once again, Denver is going to be tested in the running game with a big powerful back in Derrick Henry. The Broncos need to continue last week’s success shutting down the run, and exorcise the demons of the Leonard Fournette beatdown by not missing tackles and letting Henry run all over them. — Jeff Essary