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Broncos at Jaguars preview: Denver looks to start 2-0 for first time since 2018

As good as the win over the Giants was for the Broncos, a win over Jacksonville this Sunday is even better.

A few days later and the win still goes down smooth.

Since the Denver Broncos haven’t won a game in September since 2018 prior to Sunday, you’ll have to excuse Broncos Country for savoring the 27-13 win over the New York Giants.

Now comes the task of building on that win and improving to 2-0 this Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Broncos are a huge -6-point road favorite, but at least Teddy Bridgewater and Denver have some confidence.

The Jaguars, meanwhile, are on the heels of a surprising flogging at the hands of the Houston Texans.

As good as the win over the Giants was, a win over Jacksonville would go down even better. The chance to head home 2-0 is a great start to 2021.

Offensive Rankings

Denver: Tenth in overall offense (420.0 yards per game), fourth in rushing (165.0), 17th in passing (255.0), tied for 12th in scoring offense (27.0 points per game).

Jacksonville: Fifteenth in overall offense (395.0 yards per game), 22nd in rushing (76.0), seventh in passing (319.0), 16th in scoring offense (21.0 points per game).

Defensive Rankings

Denver: Eighth in overall defense (314.0 yards per game), tied for fourth in rushing defense (60.0), tied for 14th in passing defense (254.0), tied for third in scoring defense (13.0 points per game).

Jacksonville: Twenty-ninth in overall in defense (449.0 yards per game), 28th in rushing defense (160.0), 21st in passing defense (289.0), 29th in scoring defense (37.0 points per game).

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

No let up

If the Broncos want to end their four-straight losing seasons, they need to beat teams like the Jaguars. That means not playing down to the competition, and that’s what the franchise has done over this stretch. So don’t let up or take Jacksonville lightly. Come out with the same fire and intensity as they did against New York. — Ian St. Clair

Feast on the rookie QB

I have no doubt Trevor Lawrence is going to be a great quarterback in the NFL, but today he is a rookie starting his second NFL game. It’s time to turn that defense loose and feast on the rookies inexperience. Put him under pressure all game long and force him to make the most difficult throws to move the ball. Also, let’s see some turnovers this week from that secondary. Tim Lynch

Score more points than the Jaguars

Football is a simple game with a complicated process to get to the simple ending. If the Broncos offense is able to put 20+ points on the board against the Jaguars, they will win the game. This will also potentially make Urban Meyer rage quit and consider the USC job and flame out like most college head coaches do in the NFL. Go Broncos! Scotty Payne

Spread the ball out

Bridgewater did a great job of this vs the Giants, completing passes to at least nine different players before halftime. Even missing Jerry Jeudy, the Broncos have more offensive playmakers than the Jaguars have strong matchup defenders. So scatter that ball all over the place, force them to try to defend everyone every time, and reap the benefits when the coverage inevitably breaks down or guys like Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant get one-on-one with defenders who are no match for them. Taylor Kothe

Score a defensive touchdown

The Broncos didn’t score a single defensive TD in 2020. While they can win the game without a defensive score, playing the Jaguars seems like the most opportune time to finally get the dominant defense back on the scoreboard. It will show the league that Denver is a serious contender, and take pressure off the offense, allowing Bridgewater et al. to play free and loose. Adam Malnati

What are your keys to Sunday’s game?