The last two-and-a-half months have been especially painful for the Denver Broncos. They’ve won just one out of their last 10 games, and have lost five straight.

This week, they have an opportunity to offer their fan base a morsel of fun, with a limping Arizona Cardinals team coming to town. How can the Broncos capitalize on that opportunity? Let’s look.

Make Colt McCoy uncomfortable

Now, no one would argue that Colt McCoy is a better quarterback than Kyler Murray, but when he’s entered the lineup for Arizona this season, the Cardinals’ offense has become steadier and a little more consistent down-to-down, in exchange for losing the special game-wrecking ability that Murray provides in splashes.

Plus, McCoy’s nickel-and-diming approach is effective against Ejiro Evero’s Fangio-style defense, which sets back and dares you to attack it underneath. That’s great against Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson, but it kinda plays into McCoy’s hands

The only quarterbacks with a faster time to throw than McCoy this season (minimum 120 dropbacks) are Tom Brady — who’s been a historic outlier in terms of time-to-throw ever since arriving in Tampa Bay — and Cooper Rush.

That means it’s going to be very difficult for the Denver Broncos to disrupt McCoy’s rhythm and have their pressure get home.

That said, the Cardinals’ offensive line is severely unimpressive, and the Broncos are finally getting Randy Gregory back.

If Denver is able to harass Colt McCoy consistently, it’s hard to see Arizona generating any points. If McCoy manages to neuter the Denver Broncos’ pass rush, it sets Arizona up well for the victory.

Ask the bare minimum of Brett Rypien

You are always going to need your quarterback to help guide you to victory. It’s the most important position in sports. That said, the Denver Broncos need to step their game up across the board, in order to ensure they aren’t demanding too much of Brett Rypien, with Russell Wilson out.

Whether you’re a believer in Wilson or not, it seems everyone can agree that the Denver offensive has asked way too much of him this season. For the offense to be good, Wilson would have to make up for a shoddy offensive line, an injured and underwhelming core of weapons, and deeply incompetent coaching. Now, that doesn’t excuse it being the worst scoring offense, but it does excuse the lack of offensive greatness.

Now, if the Denver Broncos ask all of that of Rypien, it’s hard to imagine them having any success on offense. In order to be successful with Rypien in the lineup, they’re going to need the offensive line to keep him upright and comfortable. They’re going to need a sustainable run game, which can help keep the offense on schedule. And they’re going to need their pass-catchers to make big plays for Rypien, as Rypien isn’t the type to create such plays on his own.

That should be achievable, with the other offensive positions getting healthier this week.

If the Broncos can take all that of his plate, it’s possible to imagine them having some offensive success.

Patrick Surtain II wins elite matchup with DeAndre Hopkins

If you were to argue ‘most valuable receiver in the league’ based on how much they mean to the offense, and how much the offense craters once said receiver leaves the field, you’d have to consider DeAndre Hopkins one of the league’s most important pass catchers.

Since returning to the lineup, and playing in seven games (of the 13 Arizona has played on the season) Hopkins has generated more than 650 yards, good for 22.93% of the Cardinals’ season passing production and 43.88% of their passing production over that seven-game span.

He’s nearly half of their passing game on his own.

Fortunately for the Broncos, they have a defensive counter perfect for neutralizing that offensive catalyst — Patrick Surtain II.

Now, Surtain has generally been dominant this year, but the few teams he struggled against top-notch receivers, it played a large role in the Denver Broncos losing the game.

He recently allowed D.J. Moore to catch three passes for 77 yards and a touchdown on three targets, and allowed Davante Adams to secure the walk-off victory and four receptions on five targets for 85 yards and two touchdowns. But, we’ve also seen him shut down elite receivers, like his first matchup with Adams, where he limited the All-Pro to 46 yards on eight targets.

If Surtain can do that to Hopkins this week, the Denver Broncos will likely win.