The Broncos’ season has not started out the way Vic Fangio and company would have liked. Denver struggled mightily against their in-division rival, the Oakland Raiders, in a 24-16 loss on opening weekend. The Broncos’ Week 2 outcome wasn’t much better as the team fell to a last-minute field goal from Chicago Bears’ kicker, Eddy Pineiro. Denver has quickly found themselves in a hole, do they have what it takes to climb back up to the top?
Season in review
Denver was hoping for a bounce-back season following their disappointing 2018 campaign. The team went out and acquired former Super Bowl MVP, Joe Flacco, in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens, in hopes of mending their offensive struggles. Two games in, the results have been no better.
The Broncos’ defense has been as good as advertised. The team has allowed just 40 points in the team’s first two contests, plenty good enough for some wins in today’s NFL. The offense, on the other hand, hasn’t produced as many had thought. The offense is definitely more talented this season with Flacco at the helm and young weapons surrounding him, like Phillip Lindsay and Courtland Sutton. However, the run game that blossomed behind Lindsay in his rookie campaign in 2018 has become stagnant. Lindsay is averaging a mere 3.3 yards per attempt.
Broncos vs. Packers
Establishing the run has been Denver’s biggest struggle so far this season. Flacco relies upon a strong run game in order to capitalize off play-action passing; leaving the Broncos in a tough spot. Their schedule doesn’t get any easier either; this week the team travels east to Wisconsin to face off against the Green Bay Packers. The Packers, unlike Denver, have gotten off to a fast start, opening the season 2-0. Lambeau Field is one of the toughest stadiums to play in, but if Denver can get their ground game going, this team is talented enough to beat just about any team.
Aaron Rodgers remains one of the league’s best quarterbacks; his ability to create plays both inside and outside the pocket has made him into what he is today. The pass rush for the Broncos has been unable to get home in their first two contests. They will need to finish off their sacks if they wish to beat Rodgers and company. A strong run game should keep the ball out of the former MVP’s hands, Denver just has to find a way to get the ball moving on the ground.
The remainder of the season
The remainder of the schedule is pretty challenging. Denver will certainly have its fair share of winnable football games, but a tough AFC South spread, and the Cleveland Browns don’t favor well for the team. At the beginning of the season, I projected the Broncos’ record for the season. I thought that the Broncos would knock off the Raiders and Bears, starting the season off 2-0. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. If the offense can find a footing, the outlook for the season will drastically improve.
The Week 4 match-up with the Jacksonville Jaguars at home should be a game to keep an eye on. This figures to be a real chance for Denver to get their offense rolling and get some momentum heading into the 2nd quarter of the season. I believe the Broncos are better than their record or play suggests. This team has young, encouraging talent on both sides of the ball and could really take off at some point this season. Don’t turn the television off yet, Denver still has some tricks up their sleeve.
Daniel is a writer for PFN covering the AFC West. He can be found on twitter at @DraftWildcard.