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Broncos vs Cowboys preview: At least Denver plays in the early game in Dallas

The Broncos ended their four-game losing streak and now head to Dallas to take on one of the best teams in football.

The last 48 hours have been quite the emotional ride.

The Denver Broncos escaped another embarrassing defeat by holding to beat the putrid Washington Football Team on Sunday. Then on Monday traded Von Miller to the Los Angeles Rams.

While the Broncos did snap their four-game losing streak, they now head south to face the Dallas Cowboys, one of the best teams in the NFL. To make matters more difficult, the Cowboys will likely get quarterback Dak Prescott back.

It’s no surprise that Denver is a huge underdog. When the line was first released at DraftKings Sportsbook, the Broncos were a +7-point underdog. Now, they’re up to +9. Based on what the hapless New York Jets just did to the Cincinnati Bengals, anything can happen. But if I were betting this game, I would jump on that -9 for Dallas before it shoots up 10 or 10.5, which is not as good of a value. The other good play for this game is the total. The over/under currently sits at 49.5. If you were curious, the over has hit just twice in Denver games this season.

Offensive Rankings

Denver: Twenty-first in overall offense (338.8 yards per game), 20th in rushing (103.6), 17th in passing (234.6), 23rd in scoring offense (19.6 points per game).

Dallas: First in overall offense (454.9 yards per game), second in rushing (152.0), third in passing (302.9), third in scoring offense (32.1 points per game).

Defensive Rankings

Denver: Sixth in overall defense (325.8 yards per game), ninth in rushing defense (100.9), 10th in passing defense (224.9), second in scoring defense (17.1 points per game).

Dallas: Ninteenth in overall defense (366.4 yards per game), sixth in rushing defense (88.3), 28th in passing defense (278.1), 16th in scoring defense (23.1 points per game).

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

Ignore Pat Shumur’s play-calling

This is obviously not going to happen, but Teddy Bridgewater and the offense should just pretend they don’t hear Shurmur. Instead, go back when they were kids and they played in the street or at the park. The Broncos might have a better shot. If someone wanted to go crazy, set up a backchannel connection to Mike Shanahan. — Ian St. Clair

Muster every bit of blessing, luck and inspiration

In many ways, the Cowboys mimic our team with a string of bad breaks and underachieving in recent years. The difference is that this year, they have excellent offensive and defensive coordination that is putting their team in a constant position to win games. Denver lacks that advantage and looks quite overmatched against this week’s opponent. So the key for them to win boils down to “Any given Sunday.” — sadaraine

Avoid serious injuries

The Cowboys are true NFC contenders, and if Dak is playing then Denver’s chances fall in that narrow gap between slim and none. With coaching being a liability rather than an asset, staying healthy for the winnable games left on the schedule is a better hope than the vague hope of trying to find any one mismatch to exploit and win this game. — Taylor Kothe

Turnovers

Don’t turn the ball over on offense. Create turnovers on defense. Simple. — Adam Malnati

There’s a game this weekend?

Or is this just another three-hour event for Pat Shurmur to prove he’s the worst play-caller in the NFL? With a Von-less defense and a hopeless offensive coordinator, I’m having a hard time even caring about what would help them win. If the Broncos play inspired football on Sunday, I’ll start caring. Otherwise ... what time do the Rams play? — Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann

What are your keys to Sunday’s game?