The Denver Broncos are bracing for their second primetime game of the week as they prepare for the Minnesota Vikings. Both teams are on winning streaks, and one team’s will end on Sunday.

Denver Broncos bracing for tough challenge by Minnesota Vikings

Sunday Night Football will feature two teams who have been riding the wave of a winning streak after poor starts to the regular season. The Vikings are riding a five-game win streak, while the Broncos have won three straight. It all comes to a head in primetime action.

Denver Broncos offense faces stiff test from Vikings defense

Part of the recent success of the Denver Broncos offense has been them finding consistency running the football. Coming into Sunday’s game, the Broncos offense is averaging nearly 117.3 rushing yards per game (12th), but they’ll face a stiff challenge from the Vikings front-seven, who is allowing only 98.8 rushing yards per game, which ranks 10th in the NFL.

Anchored by Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter, who has 11 sacks on the season, he’s a big part of their defensive success under coordinator Brian Flores. For Sunday’s game against the Broncos, it will be Denver’s strength against Minnesota’s strength. Something’s got to give.

The Broncos offense hasn’t attempted to air it out as much in the course of their three-game winning streak, but if Minnesota finds a way to fluster Denver’s run game, Russell Wilson and Sean Payton will have to find ways to open up the passing game.

The Vikings defense allows 224.4 yards per game (16th) through the air, while the Broncos are accounting for 184.6 passing yards per game, ranking 28th in the league.

Another challenge the Broncos must overcome is penalties. So far this season, the Broncos have committed 64 penalties through ten weeks which is tied for 24th in the league. The Vikings, however, have only committed 48 penalties, which is the fourth fewest in the league.

“Normally, if you finish plus three—I think we were plus three tonight—you’d win by more, but we hurt ourselves offensively with penalties,” Sean Payton said after their win on Monday. “In the first half, there were four different times we were third-and-10 or more, and there’s a penalty on the drive that’s putting us in those spots. We have to clean that up.”

Will we see a Patrick Surtain vs. Justin Jefferson matchup?

One of the bigger questions heading into Sunday’s primetime game against the Minnesota Vikings is whether Justin Jefferson returns from injured reserve. If he does, he vs. Patrick Surtain becomes primetime must-see TV!

This past Monday Night, Surtain shadowed Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who caught just three passes for 34 total yards on five targets. Surtain surrendered only one catch to him for 11 yards in Monday’s win.

The Vikings’ offense has been a puzzling yet surprising story so far this season, and it’s only continued since Josh Dobbs emerged after Kirk Cousins season-ending Achilles injury. They’re averaging 358.1 yards per game, which ranks 10th right now in the NFL.

Dobbs is 1-0 as the Vikings starter but helped them win two games this season after stepping in two weeks ago. He’s thrown for 426 yards and three touchdowns and has a 67.2 completion percentage as a member of the Vikings.

Most of their production has come from the passing game, where they are averaging 272.4 yards per game through the air (3rd) but are nearly dead last (29th) in rushing yards per game, averaging 85.7 yards on the ground.

If Jefferson plays, the Broncos defense will have their hands full with him, Jordan Addison,  and T.J. Hockenson. Addison has burst onto the scene this season, especially in Jefferson’s absence, hauling in 45 catches for 603 yards and seven touchdowns.

Hockenson has also seen a large share of overall targets from the Vikings, seeing 48 targets and 35 catches in just the last four games. If they hope to win, he’ll be one of the keys to stop for Denver.

After struggling to recover fumbles early in the season, the Broncos defense has found their rhythm as of late and have generated nine takeaways in their last two games. While the Vikings have only thrown five total interceptions this season (3rd), they’ve lost a league-high 12 fumbles, which ranks 32nd in the league.

The Broncos defense will look to continue their hot streak of generating takeaways against Minnesota on Sunday, with hope in mind that if they do, the offense will help them out by scoring more points this week off of them.