Fans around the country must have been good boys and girls to receive this NFL gift.
They get to watch the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Rams, two 4-10 teams, play on Christmas Day. Throw in that these are the two worst offenses when it comes to scoring points and are we sure the NFL can’t flex us out of this game?
For what it’s worth, the Broncos can actually string wins together if they can beat Los Angeles on Sunday.
As for the total that sits at 36.5. With two offenses that struggle and two good defenses, the under seems like the smart play. That’s despite the fact the over has hit in Broncos games the last two weeks. On the season, the under is 11-3 in Denver games.
Denver: Twenty-seventh in overall offense (316.1 yards per game), 23rd in rushing (107.8), 22nd in passing (208.4), 32nd in scoring offense (15.6 points per game).
LA Rams: Thirty-second in overall offense (273.9 yards per game), 30th in rushing (85.1), 25th in passing (188.9), 17th in scoring offense (16.4 points per game).
Denver: Fifth in overall defense (309.0 yards per game), 14th in rushing defense (114.5), fifth in passing defense (194.5), third in scoring defense (18.1 points per game).
LA Rams: Thirteenth in overall defense (331.6 yards per game), fourth in rushing defense (104.5), 21st in passing defense (227.1), 18th in scoring defense (22.9 points per game).
Here are the MHR staff’s keys to Sunday’s game.
Stop the run
For the Broncos to have a chance, the defense must stop the LA running game. Sean McVay should have designed runs that attack the weakness of this defense, containing the perimeter in the running game, so Denver will have to counter that. If the Broncos can make the Rams one-dimensional on offense, they have a good shot. — Ian St. Clair
Russ needs to take control
Wilson needs to prove that he can lead the offense. Move the ball. Score points. Be the leader that the Broncos believed they were getting when they traded for him. If nothing else he needs to do this so we don’t have to hear about Brett Rypien deserving a shot at the starting position. — Adam Malnati
Sack and pressure Baker Mayfield into making mistakes. This game will likely be a low-scoring one as both defenses can cause issues with protection on the quarterback. I think Denver’s defense is better, so they can win this if they make Mayfield’s day a bad one. — Tim Lynch
Avoid sacks, pressures
This game features the two worst pass protecting lines in the league. Avoid sacks and expect pressure. Use extra blockers consistently. Don’t try to extend plays on offense, take fast small gains. — John Holmes
Main a balanced offense
The Broncos have won the rushing battle each of the last two weeks, and the results have been promising. The Rams struggle against the pass but remain stout against the run, allowing the fourth fewest yards per game at 104.5. They’re even better at home with a mark of 92 yards per game, but Denver can’t become one-dimensional on offense. The offensive line isn’t good enough to hold up against a pass rush who has no concern of a running game. With 168 yards on the ground last week, they were able to keep the defense off-balance and utilize play-action. They don’t necessarily need to replicate that, and they should look to take advantage of the Rams pass defense, but a balanced offense will help Russ and the offensive line tremendously. — Chad Workman