With frustrations mounting in the locker room and the fanbase alike, the Denver Broncos approach what would in most years be considered a “get right” game in a home tilt against the New York Jets. But with the Jets’ defense proving to be pretty stout this season, it’s looking like a tough matchup between two teams that profile relatively similarly despite their opposite W/L records.
In a matchup of strong defenses and iffy offenses, the Broncos will need to find and successfully- and consistently- exploit a weakness in order to win.
#1: Play offense for more than 1 quarter.
Whether it was the addition of Greg Dulcich’s presence or some spark of the offense’s engine finally starting up, the Broncos played a pretty good first quarter on offense against the Chargers. Then the offense laid down and died again and Broncos Country endured yet another grinding, flailing mess of a game.
While the initial burst of competence was encouraging, what fans endured through the rest of the game has got to stop happening. It’s well past inexcusable at this point. With the returns of Quinn Meinerz and Greg Dulcich to the lineup, the offense is about as healthy as its going to be. Coach Hackett & his staff need to get Russ & his receivers on the same page and need to seriously rethink the situational playcalling we’ve seen over the last few weeks.
#2: Stonewall the Jets’ run game.
Over the last 3 games the Jets have played they’ve rushed for 98, 135, & 179 yards. That’s a combined 412 yards on 95 attempts, with 8 TDs. At 4.34 yards per carry and 137.33 yards per game, it’s safe to say that this has been the driving force behind their offensive production.
Meanwhile, in his 3 starts since returning from injury, Jets QB Zach Wilson has a 56% completion rate, just 1 TD to 2 Interceptions, & is averaging fewer than 200 yards per game. We’re in the same boat, of course, but that just means that we know with excruciating detail just what kind of a handicap that is. So if the defense can force the Jets to go pass-heavy, they’ll generate 3-&-outs and opportunities for turnovers.
On Denver’s side of the equation, outside of a major collapse against the Raiders the Broncos’ defense has allowed just 3.99 yards per carry and 84.6 yards per game to opposing rushing attacks this season. They’ve also held their opponents to just 3 rushing TDs total, with 2 of those coming in that collapse vs the Raiders. This is a defense that can slow down this Jets running game and force Wilson to get more heavily involved. They just have to execute.
#3: Stop the stupid penalties.
Penalties reared their head again last week in as ugly a manner as we’ve seen all season- or in decades, for that matter. They skewed heavily toward the defense and effectively ruined an otherwise excellent defensive showing. Rookie CB Damarri Mathis was particularly picked on by the refs, with controversy swirling around the legitimacy of several of the back-breaking defensive pass interference calls laid at his feet.
That’s got to stop. DC Ejiro Evero has done an excellent job in all other respects at fielding a strong defensive unit that stands easily among the best in the NFL. The Broncos’ run D is stout, their pass rush is effective, and they boast several of the best defensive backs in the entire league. But the blame game can’t totally be to the disadvantage of the offense until Evero’s defense stops racking up penalty yards and 1st downs for the guys they’re supposed to be stopping.
What are your top keys to victory for the Broncos on Sunday?
What is this week’s most important key to victory?
This poll is closed
Play offense effectively & consistently.
Stop the Jets’ rushing game.
Stop the stupid penalties.
Other (Let us know in the comments!)