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Broncos vs Jaguars preview: Denver needs to get a lead and limit the mistakes

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If the Broncos offense is able to attack and get a lead, that opens the defense to create pressure and turnovers.

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The frustration is so thick you need a fan to air it out.

A fan ... or maybe a sack or two with a turnover or two. The frustration with the Denver Broncos was present and accounted for before this 0-3 start to the 2019 season. Now it feels like a never-ending cycle with no relief in sight. What will Sunday’s game vs the Jacksonville Jaguars bring for Broncos Country?

On the MHR Radio Podcast (Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify), Adam Malnati and I prayed for sacks and turnovers on Sunday for the sake of Broncos fans everywhere. We also previewed the game with our keys to a Denver win, players to watch, and had help from some great Chris Harris Jr. comments.

Offensive Rankings

Jacksonville: Twenty-third in overall offense (333.7 yards), 23rd in rushing (90.7), 16th in passing (243.0) and tied for 23rd in points (19.3).

Denver: Twentieth in overall offense (342.0 yards), 14th in rushing (111.3), 23rd in passing (230.7) and 30th in points (15.3).

Defensive Rankings

Jacksonville: Twentieth in overall defense (364.7 yards), 17th in rushing (110.0), 18th in passing (254.7) and tied for 10th in points (20.0).

Denver: Ninth in overall defense (314.0 yards), 16th in rushing (109.3), sixth in passing (204.7) and 17th in points (22.3).

Here are the MHR staff’s keys to Sunday’s game.

Play a complete game

This quote from Harris on Tuesday pretty much says it all. The Broncos cornerback was asked if Vic Fangio needs to make more aggressive calls in the games.

“He is aggressive. He’s calling all out blitzes. He’s calling man,” Harris told the media. “I don’t know what else coach Fangio can call. He’s putting us in every defense possible to be able to make plays. It’s really, you have to have players — it’s the NFL, you can have great coaches, but at the end of the day if the players don’t execute it’s a player’s league. We have to be able to go out there and make the plays.”

We’ve seen flashes from Denver in all three phases. Put it all together on Sunday. The frustration isn’t just with the fans, it’s with the coaches and players, too. The Broncos know they’re close, they need to stop beating themselves. Put forth a complete game and Denver will get the first win of the season. — Ian St. Clair

Attack on offense and get a lead

The Broncos have played behind the 8-ball all year long and now that the offense is starting to get its feet underneath it, I’d like to see them try to flip the script. I know the Jags defense is for real and can cause problems, but the whole game plan changes in a positive way if you can just get a lead and make teams play catch up even a little bit. This allows the pass rush to get serious opportunities. It allows the running game to enforce its will with confidence. If the Broncos get the lead and keep it, the run game gets to milk the clock late in the game instead of forcing risky throws. Denver’s coaches have shown they know how to adjust in-game to their opponents, now take that next step on offense and get in front of the game. — sadaraine

Don’t make stupid mistakes

The Broncos’ loss to the Green Bay Packers, and the loss to the Chicago Bears the week before, were driven by the cumulative impact of a lot of completely avoidable mistakes. The team needs to walk the walk that their coach has been talking. More death by inches isn’t acceptable. — Taylor Kothe

Pass protection

I’m concerned with how Elijah Wilkinson and Garett Bolles will fair against the Jaguars edge rushers. In the Tennessee Titans game, Jacksonville moved Calais Campbell around to exploit the weak spots on Tennessee’s line. Joe Flacco also has to do his part, as Joe Mahoney mentioned in his post, he’s been a big part of the problem in pass pro. He simply holds the ball too long and takes too many negative plays, especially in the red zone. — Just_JoRo

Limit Gardner Minshew

To defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars, the defense must find a way to limit the effectiveness of the legend of Minshew. Perhaps sneaking into his home and shaving the mustache that gives him his powers. That could be the key to the defense finally generating a turnover, or getting a sack. In all seriousness, this may have nothing to do with the outcome of the game, but if the Broncos can’t generate a turnover or sack the QB, the city of Denver might collapse into the center of the Earth, so get that done now. — Adam Malnati

Don’t make stupid mistakes II

I’m with Taylor. Week 2 it was penalties that sunk the Broncos. Week 3 it was an untimely penalty that negated a touchdown play, and then they added turnovers on top of it. This kind of stuff is completely avoidable. Denver has to stop beating itself.

Harris said it on Tuesday: ”We’ve done some good things, but we have to learn not to beat ourselves. We’ve been beating ourselves for a couple years lately. We have to be able to end that and get it right and kind of just let that go, man, just put it behind us in the past. We’ve been beating ourselves too long.”

A-freaking-men. Don’t let an absolutely winnable game slip away by shooting yourselves in the ass Aqib Talib-style. Play clean football, and get your first win of the season. — Jeff Essary

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What are your keys to the Broncos getting their first win?