The Denver Broncos are 2-6 on the year. To put it frankly, they have not been good in 2019. Due to that, they find themselves as underdogs against the Cleveland Browns in Week 9 despite being the home team.
However, this isn’t a black-and-white game. If this was before the season had started, sure the Browns would be massive favorites. Instead, this is a matchup between a 2-6 Denver team and a 2-5 grossly disappointing Cleveland team.
With that in mind, this really is anyone’s game. So how could the Broncos pull out the victory? If they are to win, here are four reasons why.
The Broncos are 2-6. They are also on a two-game losing streak. As you can tell, Denver does not exactly have any momentum going for them.
However, let’s not pretend like momentum is on the side of the Browns either. Cleveland is 2-5 on the year. They’re currently on a three-game losing streak.
That includes a blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers, an embarrassing blown lead against the Seattle Seahawks and a big loss to the New England Patriots. Nothing about those games gives Cleveland anything to build off of. They’re sinking.
While things are collapsing around them, the Broncos will pounce and pick up a big victory.
As mentioned, the Broncos have lost their starting quarterback (Joe Flacco). Due to an injury, he’s out for the foreseeable future. So they have to turn to Brandon Allen.
If it wasn’t for an injury to Drew Lock, they might be turning to their rookie quarterback. Instead, they are turning to the 27-year-old who has never appeared in an NFL game despite being drafted back in 2016.
However, that won’t be nearly as big of an issue as you might imagine. That is because of their running game. Denver has two running backs having big years.
Phillip Lindsay has 492 yards and four rushing touchdowns on 109 carries (4.5 yards per carry). He also has 25 receptions for 160 more yards.
Meanwhile, Royce Freeman has 359 yards and two rushing touchdowns on 88 carries (4.1 yards per carry). He also has 26 receptions for 182 more yards.
Those two will make things a lot easier on the offense (and each other). Subbing Lindsay and Freeman often will give each a chance to rest and stay fresh. Therefore, they’ll be able to be effective all game long.
Oh, and the Browns are allowing 143.3 rushing yards per game. That’s the fourth-most allowed in the NFL. Expect the Broncos to run all day.
The Denver defense has been fantastic this year. They are allowing just 304.5 total yards per game (fourth-fewest in the NFL). Meanwhile, they’re allowing just 18.9 points per game (eighth-fewest in the NFL).
Meanwhile, the Browns have struggled. The running game has been fantastic, but the passing game has been a massive disappointment. Baker Mayfield has a ton of turnovers and doesn’t get much help from his offensive line and wide receivers.
The Broncos pass rush should be able to get to Mayfield with relative ease. Once you start bringing the serious heat on him, things can go south for the offense really quickly.
We have seen the Broncos contain a number of really good offenses so far this year. There is no reason to believe they can’t keep the Cleveland offense that’s already in disarray from scoring too much.
Speaking of disarray, wow is this Cleveland team having a ton of issues. As mentioned before, the Browns were one of the favorites heading into the year.
It made a lot of sense too. They went 7-8-1 in 2018 after going 0-16 the year prior. Mayfield seemed to be a legitimate quarterback, and he had superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. joining Jarvis Landry and David Njoku to form an elite pass-catching corps.
Meanwhile, Nick Chubb broke out as a star running back last year and Myles Garrett is already one of the best pass rushers in the NFL.
Most of that has not worked out, though. Njoku got hurt and Mayfield hasn’t been very good.
In fact, the only two really living up to the massive hype have been Chubb (5.5 yards per carry) and Garrett (10 sacks).
Coming into the season with this much hype and falling flat on their faces can’t be good for this team with so many combustible personalities.
It looks like the leaks in the ship might be starting to show. Cleveland might be sinking, and the Broncos are in perfect position to pounce.