Week 16 should be a time in which teams are competing for playoff positioning, but at least the Broncos are making the best of this lost season.

Denver relied on their young and mostly backup players on Sunday in the Mile High City, beating the Detroit Lions soundly 27-17 while giving fans hope and cheer that 2020 will finally bring better football all-around.

Dre’Mont Jones played his best Santa Clause, sacking David Blough 2.5 times and giving us  the gift of seeing good he could grow to be. Jeremiah Attaochu — who landed on the nice list and gave the ball to Kareem Jackson in the Houston win for a touchdown — had another sack of his own, bringing his total to 3.0 on the season.

DaeSean Hamilton finally started living up to expectations, leading the team with six receptions for 65 yards and the team’s first fourth quarter touchdown in 11 games.

And Phillip Lindsay was the star on the top of the tree. The Colorado kid smashed the century mark — for his fifth time — with a 27-yard touchdown trot being his best play of the day. The blocking was phenomenal, and Lindsay made the safety miss by changing direction at just the right moment before breaking to the end zone.

Now, Lindsay’s a mere 42 yards away from 1,000 yards on the season. That would be something special because he’d become the first Broncos back to hit that milestone in back-to-back seasons since Clinton Portis in 2002-03.

Lindsay is small for an NFL running back, but he possesses the heart of a lion. And, the mane of one, too. He should continue to be the Broncos featured back moving forward, and it’s easy to see he’s been underutilized in his first two seasons. He rushed 13.7 times per game this year on average, and 12.8 as a rookie.

As we continue to look ahead to 2020, Drew Lock also inspires hope for Broncos faithful.

Lock was mostly a game manager for the Broncos on Sunday, which was just what the doctor ordered. He played under control, completing 25-33 passes, a stellar 75.8 percent for 192 yards and the shovel pass score. He also continued to make plays with his legs; it was a strong bounce back performance for the rookie after a lackluster game last week.

Yet, another positive sign for the short-term future of the Broncos. And possibly, even in the long-term.

Lock was taken in the second round; talk about a gift that keeps on giving.

What other presents are under the Broncos tree?

Valuable backup Tim Patrick continued to prove his worth, catching five passes for 48 yards and budding star Courtland Sutton caught five for 41 yards himself. Malik Reed recorded his second sack of the season while safety Trey Marshall (who?) led the team with nine total tackles.

Add into it that stars Von Miller and Shelby Harris each enjoyed solid games, and the Broncos will return Bradley Chubb, Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan back on defense next year. And Andy Janovich as well as some offensive linemen on offense.

But, back to Harris on the defensive line, as well as Harris in the defensive backfield; the Broncos have to choose to either re-sign those stars or let them leave. Derek Wolfe, Justin Simmons, Ron Leary, Attaochu, center Connor McGovern, surprise stud Mike Purcell and so many more are all free agents going into next year.

In all, Denver has 29 free agents and six of them are starters; and luckily the Broncos have a ton of money, between $50-70 million next year.

It’s been a long haul for John Elway and the Broncos since their Super Bowl 50 victory; four straight postseason misses. But, it looks like Denver is trending upwards like Santa in his sleigh. Finally.

If Elway wants to continue this momentum, he needs to re-sign Shelby Harris and Justin Simmons as soon as possible. As for the other starters, some of them are expendable and it’s likely the Broncos look a lot different in terms of personnel once again in 2020.

But, Lindsay, Sutton and Noah Fant will all be on offense, as will Lock as he looks to continue to grow. On defense, we know Miller will be here, as well as Jackson — who played lights-out until his suspension — and Chubb will be back from injury while surprise standout linebacker Alexander Johnson will return, too.

The core of a competitive team is clear and present in Denver. The leadership — with Vic Fangio in charge — seems to be solid and the entire organization looks to be gelling as Fangio’s first season comes close it its end.

There have been many frustrating losses this year. Four losses late after leading in the fourth quarter. There have been a whole host of frustrating play calls from rookie OC Rich Scangarello. And the lack of attention to detail on special teams is infuriating at times.

At 6-9, there’s no doubt this team could be even better this season. But if they find ways to correct some of those lingering mistakes, while continuing to build on this current momentum, the Broncos will make the playoffs in 2020.

As for 2019, Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.