The Denver Broncos cleared the first hurdle in what is a brutal portion of their schedule.
Up next is one of the best teams in the NFL, the New Orleans Saints. That’s true even without quarterback Drew Brees.
As the Saints come marching to Denver (sorry, I couldn’t help myself), here are some fun facts that Mike Klis pointed out on Wednesday. The Broncos haven’t lost to New Orleans in this century. They are 5-0 since 2000.
The last time the Saints beat Denver was 30-28 in 1994 at old Mile High Stadium. New Orleans won that game 30-28. To remind everyone how small the world is yet again, Vic Fangio was the Saints linebackers coach that day.
To keep this New Orleans theme going, Broncos Country will get to watch Peyton Manning on Black Friday. The former Broncos quarterback hits the links for charity in The Match III.
Any who, Denver will look build off what it did against the Miami Dolphins and try to find that allusive word consistency.
On the MHR Radio Podcast, Adam Malnati and I previewed the game with our players to watch and score predictions.
New Orleans: Twelfth in overall offense (373.6 yards per game), eighth in rushing (125.5), 14th in passing (248.1), fifth in scoring offense (29.5 points per game).
Denver: Twenty-second in overall offense (346.5 yards per game), 15th in rushing (114.8), 21st in passing (231.7), 27th in scoring offense (20.6 points per game).
New Orleans: Third in overall defense (302.2 yards per game), second in rushing defense (74.3), 11th in passing defense (227.9), eighth in scoring defense (22.2 points per game).
Denver: Thirteenth in overall in defense (346.3 yards per game), 19th in rushing defense (121.5), ninth in passing defense (224.8), 21st in scoring defense (26.7 points per game).
Here are the MHR staff’s keys to Sunday’s game.
If this looks familiar that’s because it was my key to the game last week. And guess what? It worked. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur finally got the hint. And then Ryan Koenigsberg hammered it home with his tweet. In the three-year career of Phillip Lindsay, when he gets 15 carries or more, the Broncos are 10-4. What’s more, is Denver has won six-straight when that happens. In other words, Feed Phil. — Ian St. Clair
It seems every time we see the offense perform like a functional unit, it follows it up with multiple shitty games that makes us all lose faith in everything. The Broncos only scored 20 points last week, but it could have easily been 30+ if not for a few critical turnovers. The point is, they were consistently moving the ball. I really need to see them do this in back-to-back games before I start to think we’ll see Drew Lock as the starter in 2021 and beyond. — Tim Lynch
Force some turnovers
Even without Drew Brees, the Saints are a team with a lot going for them. Taysom Hill is the weak link in that, so getting a lot of pass rush pressure on him and putting the secondary in position to make plays on the ball will be important for Denver’s chances of winning. — Taylor Kothe
Defensive line containment
The line has played well, and had a really good game against the Dolphins. It’s done this while missing key players like Shelby Harris. If they want to slow the Saints offense, it’s going to take players like DeShawn Williams stepping up again and continuing to have a big impact upfront. — Adam Malnati
Lock needs to play well
The key to this game is the key to every game this year — Lock needs to play well and not turn the ball over. Sure, he needs help from the running game and his offensive line, but he’s gotta make plays, like he did last week. He shook off a rough start and started dialing in with the offense. Have to keep that going this week, and maybe Denver can topple two teams in a row with a winning record! — Jeff Essary