Honestly, at this point I don’t know what to tell you guys. I can point out some key matchups. I can figuratively set some goals. But its on the team to execute, and there’s not much reason to expect that to happen.
If there was a clearly winnable game on our schedule, it was last week against the Carolina Panthers. Especially with Sam Darnold peeking out from QB purgatory for the first time in what feels like ages. Instead, we fell apart in arguably the most humiliating fashion of the season. Or it would be if we hadn’t gotten swept by the joke that is the Raiders.
This week, we face an imperfect but far more potent Ravens squad. It’s an easy call to label this as one of the top 3 best teams we’ve faced so far this season (along with the Chargers and 49ers), and the Ravens probably aren’t 3rd. For the Broncos to pull out a victory this Sunday, they’ll need to come out and play like a completely different team than they’ve been all year.
#1: Play Offense
The #1 problem keeps the #1 spot. This offense is completely broken, and they’ve got to figure out some way to make it work before the team can have any real expectation of success.
But the facts are pretty stark at this point. Our QB is hurt and playing badly. We’re down to WR1, WR5, & WR6 as our starting trio. Not a single RB on our active roster was on the initial 53 man roster prior to Week 1. And we’re playing backups at both tackle spots as well as at center- though admittedly that might actually be an upgrade at center.
The Denver Broncos offense is going to have to reach down deep and pull out motivation, skill, and energy that they’ve rarely if ever shown this season if they want to keep up this week.
#2: Limit Lamar Jackson.
Jackson isn’t repeating his MVP-level season from a couple of years ago, but it’s still fair to say that this Baltimore Ravens offense basically boils down to the man wearing #8. Jackson’s sitting at 2,231 passing yards so far, good for 19th in the league. And while his completion rate of 62.1% isn’t wonderful, his 17 passing TDs are tied for the 9th most in the NFL. Those numbers aren’t stellar, but they’ve been good enough to propel Baltimore to 9 games with scores of 20 or more. The Broncos have just 2 such games.
Jackson is also the Ravens’ rushing offense, for most intents and purposes. He leads his team in rushing attempts, rushing yards, yards per rush, and rushing TDs. In fact, he’s produced so much more yardage with his legs that you have to combine the rushing yards of all 3 of Kenyan Drake, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill to get a total that exceeds Jackson’s. That’s nearly the Ravens’ entire active RB depth chart.
If the Broncos’ defense can stop Lamar Jackson, they can stop this Ravens offense. Unfortunately, they’re very nearly as riddled by injuries as the offense is. And if the last week or two are anything to go by, the cumulative damage may have finally become too much for a unit that played at a truly elite level for the first half of the season.
#3: Give the fans something to be excited about.
The situation is what it is. We all know this is a lost season, and we’re only now heading into the tough part of the schedule. It’s entirely plausible that we may not win another game this season. So let’s go beyond the scoreboard.
If we can see some development by young players, or some progress by the offense, that would be enough. Or an awesome, standout game from some individual player. Heck, if we can just start getting some guys coming back off of IR, that would be a shot in the arm. The fanbase just needs a dose of hope at this point, and I’m sure the same could be said of the team itself.
Just give us something, anything, to be excited about. Or not even excitement. Just give us something to be positive about. Anything that means we don’t have to spend another week doing nothing but bemoaning how badly its all gone wrong and collectively obsessing over stupid crap like birthday party attendance for a grown man.
Is that too much to ask?