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Ultimate Fan: Broncos need to dial up the pressure to beat the Lions

The Broncos’ defense has to be better than the Lions’ offense, but that won’t be easy.

Detroit Lions v Denver Broncos Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Ahhh, ultimate fans. It has been a fun week to be a fan - a huge win last week and a Patrick Mahomes temper tantrum. And now a prime-time game with high stakes. This is the game we’ve been waiting years to play. Not so much “the Lions game,” but a game where the team is in a competitive position and the outcome matters. It’s all you can really ask for in sports.

So this 14th game is a big one. Both the Broncos and Lions are playing for the playoffs - the Lions to stay at the top of their conference and get as much divisional advantage as possible in the postseason; the Broncos to fight for a chance just to be in the post-season.

The UFG had to call up a backup QB this week, but BayAreaUnitedinOrange is a veteran with a firm grasp on the playbook and knowledge of the opponent. No doubt he is going to lead us to victory once again.

Here we go, Broncos. Here we go!

Week 15: Broncos at Lions

MHR - A huge win over the Chargers…what were your thoughts about the team? Is that win any less impactful now that the Raiders trounced them Thursday night? ;)
BayAreaUnitedinOrange: I did not watch TNF and saw the fumbles and turnovers on Sportscenter. The Chargers are yesterday’s news without Herbert, maybe today’s news if they move on from their HC Staley (whelp! That just happened). No, that was an impactful win last week by the Broncos, a must-win to remain in playoff contention, regardless of the competition.

MHR - At 9-4, the Lions have looked like a tough team to beat since the schedule came out (based on how Dan Campbell had that team playing at the end of last season) and then they looked really tough early on this year. Their star has fallen a little the last few weeks, so how does the matchup rank in terms of tough matchups these last few weeks and “must-win” type of game?
BayAreaUnitedinOrange: This feels like a must-win for the Lions, both for playoffs and just plain righting their ship. For Lion’s fans, this must feel like deja vu — collapse on national TV on Thanksgiving, a promising season fading away. Playoffs, are we talking playoffs? For the Broncos, less of a must-win and more of a chance to build on their momentum from last week to take into the final weeks.

MHR - Dan Campbell had a fun quote earlier this week where he said his former coach/boss/mentor Sean Payton would “try to come in an embarrass us so we better be on our stuff.” Payton has seemingly won over Broncos Country after a rough start (and even much of the NFL pundits). Which coach has the upper hand in this game?
BayAreaUnitedinOrange: Payton has certainly won over this Bronco fan. Payton seems to also have won over the locker room. I believe the upper hand lies with the good guys.

MHR - The fact that Jared Goff has become something in the NFL still surprises me (though I’m always happy to see young QBs succeed given what a tough environment it is). But he doesn’t do great under pressure. How do you anticipate our pass rush faring against Goff and his o-line (including former Bronco Graham Glasgow)…will it be another 6-sack game (without Bonitto)?
BayAreaUnitedinOrange: Bonitto is a huge loss for this game. Let’s not forget the great job being done on the backend, so PJ Locke would be another big loss. The Lions present a huge challenge to Denver in the passing game: 7th in both points per game and passing yards per game, top 5 in fewest sacks allowed at 26, and they’ve only thrown 10 INTs. This will have to be a game where VJ’s scheme has to be better than Goff’s O’ and dial up the pressure.

MHR - Russell Wilson still tends to lean on just a few receivers most of the time - Courtland Sutton, Adam Trautm - but has definitely found room for Lucas Krull and occasionally Jerry Jeudy ;) The Lions secondary ranks 31st in passer rating allowed, 31st in pass defense DVOA, 31st in dropback EPA allowed, and 29th in success rate. How do you like our passing game against their coverage?
BayAreaUnitedinOrange: How can you not like Sutton against anyone right now? I am disappointed in other receivers like Jeudy. I see this as a game where our RBs can make some noise with wheel routes, play action dump-offs, and screens. The deep threat of Sutton and Jeudy should open up the shorter, out-of-the-back field receptions.

MHR - Javonte Williams had a great game last week, finally scoring a touchdown this year. But Samaje Perine is out this week, and the Lions rush defense is best in the league, allowing just 64.7 yards per game on average. So what are your thoughts on the run game strength and its potential use this week?
BayAreaUnitedinOrange: This will have to be a game of using the pass to set up the run. As mentioned above, the RBs could be effective as receivers provided we can back up their secondary. One request please - do not run Jaleel up the middle. And a second request - can the end-around plays. I think we can all agree on these.

MHR - The Broncos' defense had been having a streak of crazy-good turnover ratios. It dropped during the Texans game (pun intended) but was back to great last week. The Lions, for their part, have been terrible of late turning the ball over. Will those trends continue for both teams this week or is it something we better not be counting on
BayAreaUnitedinOrange: Denver has been much better holding onto the ball as well, sans the Texans game. A game or two is an outlier. We are now in six out of seven games for the good guys, and that’s a trend. I see Denver creating a +2 TO margin this game.

MHR - Alex Singleton is a tackling machine. And as long as he keeps his mouth shut, he’s been a force on the field. How important will he and Josey Jewell be in the middle of the field to handle Sam LaPorta plus David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs?
BayAreaUnitedinOrange: Lions have 20 rushing TDs to Broncos 5. Woof. We will need all hands on deck to keep these guys out of the red zone, and hold to FGs. DJ Jones, Zach Allen upfront are two I have noticed lately. Singleton is a beast, though needs to stop missing tackles, and keep the Lions at third and long.

MHR - Our secondary is quite good but a little banged up and the Lions have a great receiver in Amon Ra St. Brown (I know this because he gets me fantasy points every week!) How does our coverage hold up against their receivers?
BayAreaUnitedinOrange: St. Brown is having a pro-bowl season and is already over 1,000 yards with 6 TDs. Surtain, McMillian, and Mathis will need to be sharp, take away time and space and allow our pass rush to get home.

MHR - How important do you expect special teams to be this week? Sean Payton always comments on it, and he anticipates some trickery from Campbell. Do you?
BayAreaUnitedinOrange: Easy, don’t overthink, don’t overcoach. IMO, the first coach going to a trick play on STs will be showing some level of desperation.

MHR - The Broncos are looking like a good chance for the playoffs but still have to take care of business each week. How are you feeling about their chances?
BayAreaUnitedinOrange: Winning the division, no as I expect KC to play better down the stretch. Winning a wild card is the big question. I predicted Denver at 10-7 when the season began, though I had them starting at 4 - 1, not 1 - 4. Based on the latest trends, this team can win out and grab a top wild card at 11 - 6. KC in January anyone? Rematch vs Dolphins? Which are your druthers?


Stats for RUSSELL WILSON? 20 of 30 for 225, 2 TDs, 0 INTs

Stats for each Broncos RB? Williams with his workman 22 carries for 75 yards and a rushing TD. Jaleel the real deal, 10 total touches for 50 yards

Number of yards receiving/TDs for the receivers? Sutton with 8 catches, 110 yards and an incredible TD catch, Jeudy 3 catches for a disappointing 20 yards, TE Trautman with the other receiving TD, RBs getting some YAC

Longest FG for Lutz? 50

Number of sacks to Jared Goff? 4. Two will be late as Lions try to catch up.

Broncos player with the most tackles? Singleton, and zero missed tackles!

Who gets the first sack of the game for the Broncos? Cooper

How many times will Wilson get sacked because he holds onto the ball too f-ing long? Three times

How many INTs/FF/FR for the Lions D? Zero and zero

How many INTs/FF/FR for the Broncos’ D? One and one for the plus 2

How many holding penalties for the Broncos? 2, both on holding back Hutch

Final Score? 24-19 good guys!

The Favorites

Favorite John Elway win outside of the Super Bowls? It has to be “The Drive” to get to the SB

Favorite Broncos win ever? SB 32

Favorite Peyton Manning win? I know it’s been mentioned this season, but the 7 TD revenge game vs Ravens to open the season in 2013.

Team you love to beat the most in the AFC West? Da Raaaaiduhs

Coach you laugh at the most in the NFL? Lately, Belichik, seems more than a bit clueless

Coach you most want to throw an egg at? Have you seen the price of eggs?

Team you hate to lose to the most in the rest of the AFC? Pats, meaning next week is a must win!

NFC team you could cheer for in the Super Bowl? Niners, seems like it is their year

NFC team you want to face more than any other in the Super Bowl? Cowboys, we owe them

Favorite game so far this season? KC win

Most important game left on the schedule? Next game

Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? Good question as this team has a lot playing well. Justin Simmons

Favorite Broncos player of all time not named John Elway? Shannon Sharpe

Favorite new guy/rookie on the team? Jaleel

Food/Snack you have to eat on game day? No real routine. A lot of games start early here, before I’m thinking of food

Favorite game analyst/commentator? Greg Olsen

How did you choose your MHR handle? I went to Super Bowl Fanfest/Experience in San Francisco for SB 50. Everywhere were big signs: “United in Orange”

If YOU were giving a tour of the Ring of Fame, who do you highlight? Any and all Orange Crush defenders, lest they be forgotten

How did you become a Broncos fan?

I was raised on bad football and Thanksgiving disappointments in the late 60s and 70s in Detroit, a family tradition like none other, like this past Thanksgiving Day. When I moved to Denver in the early 80s, the Orange Crush intrigued me, then I became a fan when Elway was drafted.