Playing in a nationally televised “Thursday Night Football” showdown with the Cleveland Browns this week, the Denver Broncos will attempt to save their season.
Yes, just seven weeks into the year, Denver’s season is on the line.
After starting the year 3-0 against bad teams, the Broncos have since lost three straight games. It’s not just that they lost, but how they lost: Denver has looked terrible over the last three weeks.
After an embarrassing double-digit loss at home to the Las Vegas Raiders last week, the Broncos faced a short turnaround before traveling to face the Browns. That’s just the way star defender Von Miller would like it.
“I feel like it’s easier this way,” Miller said Sunday. “Whenever I lose, I’ve always been the type of guy to say, ‘Let’s run it right back.’ If you beat me in cards, I want to run it right back so I can get that win. If you beat me in a video game, I want to run it right back so I can get a win. I want another shot at it super quick. There’s no better time to do it.
“We’ve got 96 hours to get it done. I like it like this. I want it as fast as possible. I want to get this taste out of my mouth fast as possible. I want to play right now and it’s the perfect situation to be in. We get to play extremely fast, and we get a break right after that. It’s all about winning though.”
If Denver does not bounce back and get a win in Cleveland, the team will drop below .500 with five more tough division games remaining on their schedule, plus a road showdown against the Super Bowl-contending Dallas Cowboys.
With six more difficult games on deck, the Broncos can’t afford to fall to 3-4 this week. A win would give them momentum going into a 10-day break before a winnable game at home against the 2-4 Washington Football Team. Denver would still face a tough road to playoff contention if the team improved to 5-3 over the next two weeks, but it would be within reach.
“We have to rally back,” coach Vic Fangio said after Sunday’s loss to the Raiders. “The way you rally back is have a good week of preparation — albeit a short week — and then go out and play well. There’s nothing that rallies you back and gets your confidence up like making some good plays and playing some good football. That’s what we have to do.”
It all starts this week against the Browns, who will be without their two star running backs. There’s a lot of football left to be played this year, but the forecast for the rest of the Broncos’ season will likely be determined on Thursday evening.