Despite a drubbing by the Detroit Lions and a fast dive down the list of teams “on the outside looking in” for a playoff spot, the Denver Broncos still have a lot of control over their destiny this season.
But it’s going to mean complete games in all phases of the ball and limiting mistakes.
So there could be no better antidote for dealing with that national embarrassment of a game Saturday night than facing the 3-11 Patriots on Christmas Eve (of course, the Broncos have to win and to do that they need to play much better — or they may just find themselves in a tailspin against some of the worst teams in the league).
But despite a losing record, we know all too well the genius that is Bill Belichick, and the last thing the Broncos should do is underestimate a 3-11 team.
Sean Payton surely knows this as he recalled a game between his Saints and the Patriots where Aqib Talib shut down Jimmy Graham all game (in fairness to Talib, he’s just a stud no matter which coach he plays for).
“It’s one of the things that Bill historically has done very well,” Payton said. “He’s going to try to loot your strengths and I think that’s what good defensive coach coaching is—trying to force you to do things maybe you don’t do as well.”
Given the Broncos’ struggles on offense when Russell Wilson doesn’t have time or the running game can’t get going, there’s no doubt Belichick will be looking to exploit those weaknesses.
Pointing out the run game struggles, Payton believes the Broncos are going to have to figure it out if they want to win the final games. And everyone knows they have to win all three to even have a shot at the playoffs anymore.
“Cleveland was the last game where I felt like we ran it really well,” the head coach said. “I think in this next three-game stretch, we’re going to have to run it better than we have.”
It won’t (or shouldn’t) be too hard to improve over the performance against the Lions where Denver scraped a measly 83 yards total in the ground game while allowing David Montgomery to get 85 by himself and Jahmyr Gibbs to add another 100. ONE HUNDRED!
A lot of that was due to this interesting/horrendous stat as noted by Pro Football Focus:
It’s even more appropriate the Broncos host the Patriots this week as Payton is doing his best Belichick impression by “moving on to New England” immediately following Saturday night’s game.
“The key for us is to get rested and get ready for these final three weeks and really starting with this week versus New England,” he said, noting the locker room leadership to do just that. “You can’t lose that game twice. You lost it once and we all did collectively. We all could have been better, and we weren’t. Let’s move forward.”
Saying it and doing it aren’t always the same thing, but Payton said both players and coaches really have no choice.
“We have to have some energy, we have to have some juice, we have to have a plan,” Payton said. “We still want to make sure we get the corrections made. We can’t gloss over some things that we don’t want to repeat themselves, but I think our body language and our energy will be important.”
Cool John Elway Bobblehead
Still looking for a Christmas gift for someone? Maybe an extended family member who somehow roots for the Raiders or Chiefs?
Then the vintage John Elway Sports Illustrated™ Bobblehead might be the best gift ever.
Foco.com has partnered with Sports Illustrated to recreate some of their most iconic magazine covers in the form of officially licensed bobbleheads - and of course the one of John Elway in the same action pose he was in on the SI cover is the best.
The bobblehead is 8 inches tall and features Elway sporting the white retro Broncos uniform and posing the same way he was featured on the cover.
Positioned next to Elway is a scaled-down re-creation of the original SI cover. The bobblehead sells for $100 and there are just 100, so get one now!
Ending on a high note...
And that is unsurprisingly courtesy of Justin Simmons, who did this:
Denver Broncos HC Sean Payton Compares Detroit Lions' Offense to a 'Good CFL Team' - Sports Illustrated Mile High Huddle: Denver Broncos News, Analysis and More
Sean Payton's post-game podium in Detroit included several headline-grabbing remarks.
Paul Klee: The Sean Payton Show takes embarrassing turn in exchange with Russell Wilson | Denver Broncos | denvergazette.com
If the Sean Payton Show doesn’t bring a whole bunch of wins and postseason success, his obnoxious act will get real tired real soon.
Denver Broncos’ defense struggles in Detroit, playoff hope remains intact | Denver Broncos | denvergazette.com
The Broncos got scorched for 42 points by the Detroit Lions in a tough loss at Ford Field. However, Denver's playoff hopes remain alive.
After months of improvement, Broncos' defense regresses in ugly loss at Detroit | Denver Broncos | denvergazette.com
The Broncos’ third-down defense had been impressive.
Denver Broncos QB Russell Wilson Talks Concerning Sideline Incident with Sean Payton - Sports Illustrated Mile High Huddle: Denver Broncos News, Analysis and More
This was not a good look for Sean Payton amid his team's 42-17 loss to the Detroit Lions.
NFL 2023 Week 15: Biggest questions, risers and takeaways - ESPN
NFL Nation reporters react to all the action, answering lingering questions coming out of each game. Here's what we learned from Week 15.
NFL coaching changes 2023: Latest firings, hirings and rumors - ESPN
Here's everything you need to know about the latest NFL head coach and coordinator movement.
Jets' Saleh - Aaron Rodgers 'wants to play' as deadline nears - ESPN
Jets coach Robert Saleh indicated Monday that Aaron Rodgers wants to play again this season, but the coach adamantly refused to comment on whether Rodgers will see the field again.