The Denver Broncos are entering yet another pivotal matchup, early in this season. This time, it comes against the Jacksonville Jaguars, across the pond, in London.

How can the Broncos win this international game with their backs against the wall, and avoid another let down? Let’s take a look.

Russell Wilson vs. Jacksonville Jaguars defense

Mr. Unlimited will be back on the field for the Denver Broncos, on Sunday, now that he’s healed from the hamstring injury that forced him to miss last week’s battle with the New York Jets.

Unfortunately for him, he’ll have to face a solid test in the form of the Jacksonville Jaguars defense.

In his last two starts, Wilson didn’t perform like a starting-caliber NFL quarterback, let along a superstar-caliber NFL quarterback. He missed wide-open receivers left, right and center, failed to identify obvious blitzers, and took unnecessary sacks.

However, nestled right in the middle of those seven quarters of filth and slop was his near-perfect first quarter against the Chargers. Whether or not he’ll be able to play like that for four-consecutive quarters is yet to be seen, but getting to see it for even 10 pass attempts is enough to make sure the flames of hope aren’t entirely extinguished.

It also should, at least in theory, be easier for Wilson to build on those positive moments this week, as Jacksonville’s defense (18th) ranks lower than both Los Angeles’ (17th) and Indianapolis’ (11th) in terms of defensive DVOA.

Advantage: Toss-up

Denver Broncos OL vs. Jacksonville Jaguars pass rush

The Jaguars’ defense might be inferior to that of the Colts and the Chargers, generally speaking, but one aspect where they’re superior is in regard to pass rush, where they boast one of the NFL’s stingiest units.

Through seven weeks, the Jaguars have forced the eighth-most pressures and fifth-most quarterback hits of any team in the NFL. Of the opponents the Broncos have faced so far, only the New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers have more pass-rush production.

Not only do the Jaguars represent a tough task for an offensive line down to their fourth-best offensive tackle, but protecting Wilson will be more important than ever this week, as he continues to work back from multiple soft-tissue injuries.

If the Denver Broncos’ offensive line allows the Jaguars to tee-off on Wilson, it could mean curtains for Denver’s 2022 season.

Advantage: Jacksonville Jaguars

Denver Broncos pass rush vs. Trevor Lawrence

Fortunately, Russell Wilson won’t be the only quarterback forced to work against an elite pass rush.

The Denver Broncos possess the NFL’s best pass rush outside the Dallas Cowboys, and even then, they could give Dallas a run for their money. The Broncos have so far pressured opposing quarterbacks 75 times this season, trailing only the Kansas City Chiefs and Cowboys, and their pressure rate of 29.64 percent ranks second in the NFL, only behind Dallas.

Heightening the importance of the pass rush is the fact that Lawrence has been one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL when pressured this season.

His passer-rating-when-pressured of 46.8 ranks 30th of 34 qualified quarterbacks, while his turnover-worthy-play rate of 8.4%, when pressured, ranks third-worst among all quarterbacks when pressured, per PFF.

Fortunately for Lawrence, the Denver Broncos’ pass rush has been pacified a great deal. Baron Browning is set to miss several weeks with a hip injury and Randy Gregory is still on injured reserve.

Nonetheless, between Ejiro Evero, Bradley Chubb, Dre’Mont Jones, D.J. Jones, Jonathon Cooper, and Nik Bonitto, they should be able to generate enough pressure to make Lawrence uncomfortable.

Advantage: Denver Broncos