The Russell Wilson era is almost here.
After months, nay, years, the Denver Broncos have hopefully returned to meaningful football. As opposed to the meaningless football of the last six seasons.
First up is a trip to the northwest to take on the Seattle Seahawks on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Nothing like a revenge game the first time you start for your new team.
As it stands, the Broncos are near touchdown favorites over Seattle. From a betting perspective, that -6.5 from DraftKings Sportsbook is a tempting number. If that jumps to -7, it’s not as appealing for those who may want to bet on the Broncos. The 6.5 is one of the sweet spots for bettors, as are 2.5 and 9.5. As for the total, that sits at 43.
Here are the MHR staff’s keys to Monday’s game.
Let Russ cook
Needless to say, there is going to be a ton of emotion in Seattle. From the 12s, but also for Wilson. Nathaniel Hackett needs to call up some plays that allow Wilson to test the field and make deep connections with his receivers. After all, the deep ball is what Wilson does just about better than any other QB in the NFL. Not only does that get Wilson and the offense into the game, but it will also quiet the fans. — Ian St. Clair
Shut down the run, limit DK and Lockett
The Seahawks rushing attack last season was pretty good even with the loss of Chris Carson. Now Seattle selected Kenneth Walker III in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Seahawks were able to add a speedy elusive running back. Last year the Seattle rushing attack averaged 122 yards per game and averaged 5 yards per carry. The Seahawks also have two very talented wide receivers in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Both made up for more than half of the passing attack last year with each of them having over 100 targets. The Broncos pass defense was not pretty with teams averaging 214 yards per game with 22 touchdowns. If Denver wants to win it has to shut down the run and limit Metcalf and Lockett. — Tanner Watts
Control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball
Also, the Broncos defense needs to makes some big plays and force Geno Smith into turnovers. Too often the last few seasons the Broncos played it safe and didn’t generate turnovers. The Los Angeles Rams last season were only 25th in generating turnovers, but maybe that was more of a function of Raheem Morris, their DC, then Ejiro Evero. — Joe Mahoney
Use Pookie ... a lot
Rookie sensation Javonte Williams put the league on notice with his ability to run through defenders, or just flat out make them miss. It’s time to put the workhorse back on the field, early and often. The Broncos need to get Williams going early, not only for his sake, but for the sake of his new QB, who will only benefit from picking apart a battered defense. — Ross Allen
Special teams need to finally be special
So many good keys to the game, so I won’t parrot those ideas. Instead, here’s something worth noting; Broncos Country has collectively been screaming for a change on the special teams. With Tom McMahon finally gone, I hope to see a big difference. Winning the field position battle will be a major factor in setting the offense up for success, and putting the defense in a position to make big-time plays. — Adam Malnati
Be on the same page
This is the first time Russ and the offense will be on an actual game field, and it will be LOUD in Seattle as the 12s will be in full voice. Will the offense be on the same page with audibles and silent counts? Will the receivers and Russ check to the right options at the line? False starts on the o-line could be plentiful. There will be growing pains with the new offense and the loud road environment could make those growing pains a little more painful. Let’s see if all that practice, but no preseason work, pays off. — Mike DeCicco