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LAST WEEK’S RESULT
Prediction: Denver 17 @ Indianapolis 33
Actual: Denver 13 @ Indianapolis 15
Now it’s about next year. It’s likely been about next year the entire year but, with Joe Flacco on Injured Reserve after a disappointingly lackluster first (and last!?!) season with the Denver Broncos, the focus has absolutely shifted to the 2020 campaign.
That’s okay. It’s easier to watch a team play as poorly (at least offensively) as the Broncos do when there is nothing but next year for which to play.
The Cleveland Browns come to town as one of the biggest disappointments of the 2019 season. They are reeling. They are beatable.
KEY MATCH UP
Denver’s run defense must contain Nick Chubb. In my opinion, that’s the ball game. Contain Chubb and Baker Mayfield has to beat you. He has not shown – at least this year – that he can beat a good defense on his own.
Make no mistake, lost in the story of the Broncos’ season is that they do possess a good defense. A very good one.
(I was tempted to make this section the Broncos versus NFL officials, but we will wait for one more ridiculous, post 2 Minute Warning, game changing call before we are all in on that one)
Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman are the X-Factors this week. Much like Denver’s defense needs to keep Nick Chubb corralled, Cleveland’s offense needs to limit Denver’s ground duo. If Denver has a good day running the football, they have a chance to protect Brandon Allen and win the game. If it’s all on Allen’s shoulders, the results could be ugly.
Not one of Denver’s quarterbacks has taken a regular season snap. Is there any reason to pick the Broncos to win and to eclipse their season average in points?
But I think the bump in energy the QB change will give them, coupled with the fact that they made no major, emotional trades this week on the defensive side of the ball gives the Broncos a leg up and a chance to win the game.
And I see a defensive score this week. Give me Chris Harris, jr or Von Miller in the end zone.