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Broncos vs Panthers preview: Super Bowl rematch this is not

Two of the worst teams in the league battle in the ultimate pillow fight to determine which team is worse.

Las Vegas Raiders v Denver Broncos Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Nathaniel Hackett and the Denver Broncos can’t possibly lose to Sam Darnold and the Carolina Panthers.


At this point, anything and everything is possible with this coach and team.

Based on what we’ve seen from the Broncos (3-7) this season, there’s a high probability we see them lose on Sunday against an equally bad Carolina (3-8) team. A Panthers team that will start Darnold at quarterback. If Denver loses to Darnold ...

DraftKings Sportsbook has the Broncos as the -2.5-point favorite. Fair warning: Denver is 3-7 against the spread this season and was a favorite against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 11. As for the total, that number sits at 35. That’s one of the lowest numbers of the season and it still feels too high. The under is 9-1 in Broncos games this season.

Offensive Rankings

Denver: Twenty-first in overall offense (326.4 yards per game), 25th in rushing (102.6), 15th in passing (223.8), 32nd in scoring offense (14.7 points per game).

Carolina: Thirty-first in overall offense (286.1 yards per game), 19th in rushing (110.8), 29th in passing (175.5), 25th in scoring offense (18.8 points per game).

Defensive Rankings

Denver: Third in overall defense (302.1 yards per game), 14th in rushing defense (115.3), third in passing defense (186.8), third in scoring defense (17.1 points per game).

Carolina: Twenty-second in overall defense (357.5 yards per game), 27th in rushing defense (137.0), 18th in passing defense (220.5), tied for 20th in scoring defense (23.3 points per game).

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

Stop with the talking, execute

From the head coach to the quarterback, if the Broncos played as well as they talk they’d be undefeated. Enough about accountability and being “this close.” Make it happen. Until then, the words are empty and meaningless. — Ian St. Clair

Moral victories, baby!

Get two touchdowns in the first half. Woohoo! — Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann

Continue progressing away from Hackett’s scheme

I liked what I saw from Klint Kubiak’s play calling and it seemed Russell Wilson did too. They had five potential scoring drives on Sunday, but one touchdown was taken away by Melvin Gordon fumbling (surprise!) and Brandon McManus had a field goal blocked. Despite the 16 total points, the offense was actually far more efficient than anything Hackett has produced. So I’m excited to see where Kubiak takes this offense moving forward. — Tim Lynch


The Broncos need to take full advantage of Von Miller in this one and really keep the heat on Cam Newton. This should be a game where they’re once again carried by this all-time great defense. I think the cherry on top would be if C.J. Anderson can get things going for the offense in the run game.Oh how I miss 2016… — Ross Allen

Build a time machine

Then go back to the moment that George Paton decided to hire Hackett and show him highlights of the absolute dumpster fire of a season that follows. Keep doing that until you come back to an acceptable season where the weapons we all thought were going to turn this franchise around have actually turned this franchise around. — Adam Malnati

What are your keys to Sunday’s game?