The Broncos are once again under the lights for a Thursday Night Football game against the Matt Ryan led Indianapolis Colts. Watching football on a Thursday night is awesome, but in some aspects it isn’t necessarily the best thing for teams. Both teams have a ton of injuries coming into this short week game.
The Battle Of Mediocre Offense’s
Both of these teams have a struggling offense up to this point of the season. We have seen the struggles on this Broncos offense. Penalties, turnovers, just a lack of looking prepared. It is clearly taking time for this team to mesh with the new QB and head coach.
Melvin Gordon is the biggest topic in Denver this week. The Javonte Williams injury has thrown Gordon into the starting running back position. However, a good portion of Broncos Country doesn’t understand why George Paton brought Gordon back in the first place. And an even bigger portion doesn’t understand why he is still on the team, after fumbling multiple times already this season and giving one up for a 67 yard touchdown last week against the Raiders. The unfortunate reality is that the Broncos don’t have another option at the moment.
Russell Wilson had an explosive first half against Las Vegas that included two passing touchdowns. In the third quarter, the offense as a whole shut down. The Broncos will have to get out to a fast start to get a rhythm. Not only at the beginning of the game, but also coming out of the half.
Indianapolis has not been good offensively, there are a couple of reasons for that. The offensive line has not looked good to say the least. They have struggled in pass protection and especially in the run game. Last week against the Tennessee Titans they had 38 total rushing yards. They may have better luck against the mild Broncos rushing defense (which gave up 200+ yards vs. Raiders), but they will be without RB Jonathan Taylor.
Matt Ryan has been decent, but with a 1-2-1 record it hasn’t been exactly what Colts fans were expecting. Against the Titans, Ryan had 356 passing yards, two touchdowns, and one pick. Not a bad stat line, but you can’t get it done when you have that and 39 team rushing yards.
Defense Will Dominate
The Denver “D” is terrific in pass coverage and 75% of the reason why is Pat Surtain II. The simplest way to put it is; he is an absolute stud. In his second year out of Alabama, he has gone up against some of the NFL’s best wide receivers including guys like DK Metcalf and Davante Adams. When he’s been matched up with receivers, he has answered the bell. That doesn’t change this week against Michael Pittman Jr.
Justin Simmons is still waiting to come back off of the IR. However, Kareem Jackson has been the leader of young safeties who have had to fill the hole. Randy Gregory was put on IR earlier this week which will have him sidelined for a few weeks. That means it is time for several guys to step up, but especially one in particular.
Bradley Chubb is playing for his career this season. If the Broncos don’t sign him by the end of the year he will become a free agent, which would be extremely disappointing. Considering he was the 5th overall pick in the 2018 draft, he had very high expectations. He had a very good rookie year, but since then hasn’t been able to stay healthy or have much production. He had a better chance with Gregory on the other side of him to team up on production. Now, with Baron Browning and Nik Bonitto on the other side replacing Gregory, it is up to Chubb to take double teams and make the most of his one-on-one opportunities.
Now that Colts RB Jonathan Taylor has been ruled out, it will give the defense an easier time stopping the run. However, I think Matt Ryan finds a way to keep this game close, even behind a terrible offensive line. This will possibly be the biggest game of a certain player’s career. And that would be Melvin Gordon. He has to hold on to the ball no matter what, otherwise it may be his last game in a Broncos jersey. I have a feeling he will have a big game.
It feels like it will be a boom or bust game for Gordon, the Broncos will need him to boom to win this game. I have the Broncos winning this game 24-20. It may be a boring game between two offenses that have really not looked good so far. Just like Gordon, this also feels like it could be a boom or bust game for the offense as a whole. No matter what it looks like I think the defense will win this game for Denver.
Tailgate Song Of The Week: Take Me Home By Chris Webby (Explicit Song)