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Broncos vs Dolphins preview: Denver’s first road game poses serious problems

The Miami offense is really good and the Broncos defense isn’t. Can the Broncos find a way to pull the road upset?

Washington Commanders v Denver Broncos Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

The good news for fans of the Denver Broncos is Sunday’s game starts “early.”

As the Broncos head out for their road game of the 2023 season, kickoff is slated for 11 a.m. MT against the Miami Dolphins. That’s about the only thing to look forward to when it comes to this game. Yes, any given Sunday, but the Dolphins offense looks really good and Denver’s defense is not.

Somehow, DraftKings Sportsbook only has the Broncos as a +6.5-point underdog. That number will likely change as the game gets closer. As for the total, that number sits at 48. The over hit for Denver the first time in the Week 2 loss to the Washington Commanders. There is a chance the over hits again this Sunday, but because of the Dolphins high-powered offense.

Offensive Rankings

Denver: Sixteenth in overall offense (329.5 yards per game), 15th in rushing offense (108.0 YPG), 12th in passing offense (221.5 YPG), tied for 14th in scoring offense (24.5 points per game).

Miami: First in overall offense (462.5 yards per game), 16th in rushing offense (107.5 YPG), first in passing offense (355.0 YPG), tied for third in scoring offense (30.0 points per game).

Defensive Rankings

Denver: Sixteenth in total defense (324.5 yards per game), 11th in rushing defense (91.5 YPG), 21st in passing defense (233.0 YPG), tied for 25th in scoring defense (26.0 points per game).

Miami: Twenty-fourth in total defense (360.5 yards per game), 28th in rushing defense (160.5 YPG), 14th in passing defense (200.0 YPG), tied for 21st in scoring defense (25.0 points per game).

Here are the MHR staff’s keys to Sunday’s game.

Figure out what the heck is happening in the second half

Two weeks in a row the Broncos have played incredibly well in the first half. Two weeks in a row the Broncos have looked utterly incompetent in the second half. When you look at Sunday’s loss, I have no idea how a team looks as good as Denver did in the first half and then look as booty cheeks in the second half. Of course, it might not matter this week given the Miami offense. But this trend has to stop if the Broncos want any shot. — Ian St. Clair

Get on the same page

Sean Payton, Russell Wilson and Vance Joseph need to get on the same page or Miami is going to destroy Denver. I don’t mind Payton calling out his QB and defensive coordinator, but ultimately, his gripes about slow play calling and ad hoc defensive scheme come down to the head coach and his prep with those guys during the week. Defenders may need a refresher on proper tackling and coverage technique to avoid penalties that give the offense so many chances. Tua Tagovailoa and Tyreek Hill don’t need extra chances. So the coach and coordinator need a definitive and joint plan for limiting those playmakers. Also, break out the wristband! — Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann

Stop the Miami passing attack

Unfortunately, this game is going to come down to stopping the passing attack of the Dolphins. Somehow, the defense is either going to have to get to Tua so that he doesn’t have time to pick on a shaky Denver secondary, or that shaky Denver secondary is going to half to put on their big boy pants and shut down what appears to be the most potent offense in the league. And what Laurie said. Straight fire! — Adam Malnati

Establish the dang run game early

The Broncos brought in Ben Powers and Mike McGlinchy for a reason. Quinn Meinerz is one of the best run-blocking guards in the league. Garret Bolles is a liability in the passing game. Javonte Williams is a bulldozer. This will only make it easier to run the clock and give Miami as little possession time as possible. — Ross Allen

Get Marvin Mims the ball

Remember last week when Marvin Mims torched the Washington Commanders defense in the first half and then wasn’t targeted in the second half? Fix that and get him more touches. There is absolutely no reason he isn’t getting 5-7 looks in the passing game each week. With Sutton and Jeudy drawing more attention, he should have plenty of one-on-one opportunities to propel the Bronco’s pass game to greater heights. Get him the ball! — Christopher Hart

What are your keys to Sunday’s game?