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How tough is the Broncos’ remaining 2020 schedule?

“Slog” may be generous.

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After a sloppy battle with the 0-3 New York Jets, the Broncos finally have a victory. If they can steal a win over New England and Lock rips the Dolphins they’re right back to .500.

Yes, I’m telling you there’s a chance. According to Football Outsiders’ Playoff Odds Report, the Broncos currently have a 7.6% chance at the playoffs.

Back before the season began I took a look at the 2020 schedule as a whole. Back then Von Miller, Courtland Sutton, Jurrell Casey, Dre’Mont Jones, and Drew Lock were healthy. The thing is every team around the NFL is dealing with injuries and other issues. So four games in, it’s time to take another look.

Week 5 - New England Patriots

Reasons for optimism:

Reasons for pessimism:

  • The NFL delayed the game a day, which could mean a healthy Newton.
  • New England utilizes more gap blocking and will lean on I-formation quite a bit. Both could be problematic for the Broncos’ defense.
  • James White is going to be a huge mismatch against Josey Jewell.
Las Vegas Raiders v New England Patriots
Belichick gets an extra day to prepare for the Broncos.
Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Week 6 - Miami Dolphins

Reasons for optimism:

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick looks like the starter right now.
  • Miami’s line has been iffy and rookie Austin Jackson will have to block Bradley Chubb.
  • They’ve been one of the worst defenses in football so far.

Reasons for pessimism:

Miami Dolphins v Jacksonville Jaguars
Gesicki’s been a matchup issue for opponents this year.
Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Week 7 - Kansas City Chiefs

Week 8 - Bye Week!

Reasons for optimism:

  • R&R is what this roster needs.

Reasons for pessimism:

  • No Broncos football for a week feels bad.

Week 9 - Atlanta Falcons

Reasons for optimism:

  • It’s hard to believe Dan Quinn still has a job. The Falcons have gotten off to a rough start in comical fashion and that only stokes the coals on a hot seat.
  • By and large the Falcons have underperformed across the board and their defense is in a rough spot with inactive players.
  • Matt Ryan’s looked off.

Reasons for pessimism:

  • If there’s a new coach it’s a relative unknown.
  • Grady Jarrett is going to be a huge issue for Lloyd Cushenberry.
  • The Falcons offensive line has looked like more than the sum of their parts so far.
  • Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley will be a problem for this secondary.
Atlanta Falcons v Green Bay Packers
There is no one on the Broncos who can cover Julio Jones.
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Week 10 - Las Vegas Raiders

Reasons for optimism:

  • The way Derek Carr loses his mind under pressure could work in the Broncos’ favor.
  • The rebuilt defense is pretty dang bad so far.
  • Gruden’s making hay with a receiving corps heavily reliant on rookie production.

Reasons for pessimism:

  • While Maurice Hurst is currently on the Covid-list, he’s been very good so far this year. If he can return to form, he’s a huge issue for the interior offensive line.
  • Darren Waller is a huge matchup issue for the defense.
  • Gruden is an ace play caller, even if his game management often bites him in the backend.
Buffalo Bills v Las Vegas Raiders
Carr’s quick game is going to be a problem.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Week 11 - Los Angeles Chargers

Reasons for optimism:

  • The offensive line has a bunch of questions.
  • Noah Fant’s could have some sneaky good matchups.
  • Losing Derwin James hurt the Chargers’ defense as much as losing Von Miller hurt the Broncos.

Reasons for pessimism:

  • Justin Herbert looks like a perfect fit in Lynn’s offense.
  • Keenan Allen is balling and his crisp route running will cause huge issues for the secondary.
  • Austin Ekeler is a huge mismatch and should return from I.R. by week 11.
  • Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are the big names, but the Chargers have complimentary pieces that will cause issues for the pass protection.
Los Angeles Chargers v Cincinnati Bengals
Chris Harris’ return?
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Week 12 - New Orleans Saints

Reasons for optimism:

  • Drew Brees is aging in dog years. Could we see Jameis Winston?
  • The Broncos’ probably get up for Emmanuel Sanders’ homecoming.
  • Sean Payton has a weird obsession with Taysom Hill that isn’t working in 2020.

Reasons for pessimism:

New Orleans Saints v Detroit Lions
Sanders return to Denver.
Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Week 13 - Kansas City Chiefs

New England Patriots v Kansas City Chiefs
Can the Broncos slow down the half billion dollar man?
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Week 14 - Carolina Panthers

Reasons for optimism:

  • Carolina has one of the worst defenses in football so far. They’re especially bad at stopping runs once they’ve reached the second and third level, something the Broncos could take advantage of with Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay.
  • Teddy Bridgewater had issues against the same type of blitz heavy scheme Fangio’s using when he played the Buccaneers in week 2.

Reasons for pessimism:

  • In D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, and Robby Anderson, Joe Brady has the receiving weapons to really stretch the Broncos’ secondary.
  • Brian Burns is an ascending speed rusher and will be a tough match up for both Garett Bolles and Demar Dotson.
  • If Brady can get Christian McCaffrey back, I shudder to think of what Ed’s kid will do to Josey Jewell.
Carolina Panthers v Los Angeles Chargers
Burns is going to really test Demar Dotson.
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Week 15 - Buffalo Bills

Reasons for optimism:

  • Pat Shurmur knows how to roast Josh Norman.
  • So far Buffalo’s line hasn’t been as great blocking for the run this year as last.
  • Maybe Josh Allen’s rise is unsustainable?

Reasons for pessimism:

  • Even account for Norman, the Bills have one of the best defenses in the league.
  • Stefon Diggs poses huge issues for the Broncos’ secondary.
  • Buffalo’s ground game leans into gap blocking and misdirection. Josh Allen’s legs are a big part of this, and it helps to create space for the runners because of hesitation by second and third level defenders. Last year this created huge issues for Malik Reed.
  • -It looks like Josh Allen is good now.
Buffalo Bills v Las Vegas Raiders
Josh Allen’s an MVP candidate. I’m not okay.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Week 16 - Los Angeles Chargers

Additional reasons for optimism:

Additional reasons for pessimism:

  • Anthony Lynn has one of the better schemed rushing attacks in the league. By week 16, he’ll have found more ways to maximize Justin Herbert’s legs.
Los Angeles Chargers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Herbert looks like the real deal.
Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

Week 17 - Las Vegas Raiders

Additional reasons for optimism:

  • Their schedule is just about as brutal as Denver’s. With how many times Carr has already passed on open deep shots and his propensity for meme-worthy moments against pressure, there’s a decent shot Marcus Mariota is playing by now.

Additional reasons for pessimism:

  • If the Broncos continue to lose players along the line of scrimmage Josh Jacobs is going to rush for 200 yards.
Buffalo Bills v Las Vegas Raiders
Jacobs is a warhorse type of back that can do it all.
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Your Broncos’ News

Can Denver Broncos ground game carry them past New England Patriots? - Mile High Report

New England could be soft up the middle. Can Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay feast?

Can the Denver Broncos beat the New England Patriots? - Mile High Report

You only need to surprise Bill Belichick. Easy. Right?

Week 4 film room: 4 things we love from the Denver Broncos defense - Mile High Report

After a win against the Jets, we take a look at some positive trends through the first four games.

A 3-headed Mock: Should the Denver Broncos chase Trey Lance? - Mile High Report

I spoke with Ben Glassmire to discuss who Broncos’ Country needs to keep an eye on.

Denver Broncos at New England Patriots to be moved to Monday afternoon - Mile High Report

The COVID-19 outbreak with the New England Patriots has forced the NFL to move their game with the Denver Broncos to Monday night.

Denver Broncos at New England Patriots betting odds: Week 5 - Mile High Report

The Denver Broncos are 3.5-point underdogs to the New England Patriots in Week 5 with Brett Rypien set to take on Bryan Hoyer.

NFL Week 5 Tank Update: The teams most likely to get Trevor Lawrence in the 2021 NFL Draft | NFL News, Rankings and Statistics | PFF

PFF doesn’t think the Broncos have a shot at T-Law.

Spielberger: Trading up in the NFL draft is an even worse idea than we thought | NFL News, Rankings and Statistics | PFF

The Jimmy Johnson chart — or a version of the Jimmy Johnson chart — is still being utilized by most NFL teams. The only explanation for why that’s the case is because “that’s how it’s always been done.”

The 2020 Rookie Wide Receiver Class Is Already Living Up to the Hype - The Ringer

Like Lamb, Jeudy has quickly made a home for himself in the middle of the field, manning the slot on 80 percent of his snaps through his first four games. My second-ranked receiver coming into the draft, the former Alabama star has already flashed some of the playmaking talent he showed off in college, making defenders miss with lightning-quick jukes while showing a natural ability to find the soft spot in coverages.

NFL News

NFL needs a new (actual) COVID-19 contingency plan - Mile High Report

Because its non-contingency plan is punishing the wrong people.

Patriots plan to practice Saturday morning - ProFootballTalk

Head coach Bill Belchick is expected to speak to reporters before the practice session. One of the questions he’s likely to be asked is about the status of quarterback Cam Newton as Newton could be in line for a return to action if he is asymptomatic and has had multiple negative COVID-19 tests.

Ted’s Film Room: The Browns quarter-season MVP is Bill Callahan – The Athletic

These days, Callahan is working on a much bigger project. He’s attempting to rebuild the entire Cleveland Browns offensive line that stuggled last season. And so far, so good. In 2019, the Browns ranked 31st in ESPN’s run block win rate. This season, they rank second. Surprisingly, they ranked sixth in pass block win rate in 2019, but made the jump to third this season.

Jets have a “presumptive positive” COVID-19 test result - ProFootballTalk

Per multiple sources, the Jets have received a positive test result for a player. It’s a “presumptive positive.” The player currently is being re-tested to determine whether it’s a false positive.

Chargers put Austin Ekeler on injured reserve - ProFootballTalk

The Chargers announced on Friday that Ekeler has been placed on injured reserve. He will have to remain on the list for at least three games before he’ll be eligible to return to action.

Falcons WR Julio Jones (hamstring) questionable vs. Panthers

Jones did not participate in practice all week after leaving Monday’s game early after reinjuring his hamstring. The star wideout played just 15 snaps against the Packers before being ruled out. The 31-year-old Pro Bowler missed Week 3’s loss to Chicago due to the hamstring injury.