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Broncos vs Buccaneers preview: Can Denver overcome the injuries and pull the upset?

The first key is for the Denver Broncos to stay healthy. But here’s how Denver can put itself in a position to have a chance.

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The 2020 season has just started and it already feels like a full season.

BetMGM currently has the Broncos at a +6.5 underdog on Sunday. When you have a run of injuries like the Denver Broncos have had, that’ll happen.

What do some of the sportsbooks think of the injuries — have the Broncos odds taken a major hit? Even they think it’s been brutal for Denver.

As Johnny Avello, director of operations at DraftKings, told me:

“Through the years, I have seen teams take major hits early in the season, but this is pretty awful.”

Where do the Broncos go from here?

At least this week, it’s home against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in front of 5,700 fans. Speaking of the odds, while Denver is 0-2 on the season, the Broncos are 2-0 covering the spread. Will they be able to keep that streak alive?

On the MHR Radio Podcast, Adam Malnati and I previewed the Week 3 game, gave our players to watch and keys to the game.

Offensive Rankings

Tampa Bay: Twenty-fifth in over offense (324.5 yards per game), 23rd in rushing (104.0), 25th in passing (220.5), tied for 12th in scoring offense (27.0 points per game).

Denver: Twenty-seventh in overall offense (321.0 yards per game), 21st in rushing (105.5), 26th in passing (215.5), 31st in scoring offense (15.0 points per game).

Defensive Rankings

Tampa Bay: Tied for 11th in overall defense (349.0 yards per game), fourth in rushing defense (84.5), 21st in passing defense (264.5), 17th in scoring defense (25.5).

Denver: Twenty-first in overall in defense (393.5 yards per game), 14th in rushing defense (119.5), 25th in passing defense (274.0), 10th in scoring defense (21.0 points per game).

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

Win the turnover battle

I don’t want to repeat myself from the Pittsburgh Steelers game, but I’m going to. Though this was only tied into my key to the game. The Broncos need to win the turnover battle. If Denver’s defense is able to steal a few possessions away from Brady and the Tampa offense, that’s how the Broncos can steal this game. Of course, that means Jeff Driskel and Denver’s offense can’t give it back. Those extra possessions are more opportunities for points, and the Broncos need all of the help they can get. — Ian St. Clair

Pass protection

Fix the constant pressure in obvious passing situations. The offensive line has looked like junk stopping the pass rush. Technique, scheme, play calls...it doesn’t matter how, but you have to do better if this offense is going to have a chance. — sadaraine

Stay healthy

The Broncos have endured more than their share of significant losses to injury already this season. What can players do to avoid freak tendon displacements and shoulder injuries? Probably not much. I’d suggest taking some Aikido lessons to learn how to fall right (seriously, three significant shoulder injuries already is just crazy), though it may be a bit late for that. Regardless, the team will only fall further into disjointed flailing if it can’t stem the tide of injuries. — Taylor Kothe

Pass rush

The Broncos defensive line was playing mostly backups in the Steelers game and struggled to get to Ben Roethlisberger. It won’t be easy with all the injuries, but getting Brady off his spot will make it difficult for him to feed Mike Evans all game. — Adam Malnati

Witch doctor

Get a witch doctor to rub some jungle magic on the broken players to bring them back to health. Then, have this witch doctor curse the other teams allowing the newly healed Broncos to win out, go 14-2 and cruise to a Super Bowl title. If not ... uh ... try not to suck? — Scotty Payne

What are your keys to Sunday’s game? And will the Broncos cover the spread again?

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