The Denver Broncos are focused on finishing the season strong with just three games remaining. After Saturday’s disappointing loss to the Detroit Lions, what is the mindset of the team as they prepare for the New England Patriots on Christmas Eve?

Denver Broncos mentality not shaken after Lions loss

If there’s anything we’ve learned about this Broncos team this season, it’s that they aren’t easily shaken after running into brick walls. After starting off 1-5, the Broncos have won six of their last eight games.

We’ve even seen this team respond to disappointment over the last three weeks. After losing to the Houston Texans, they responded in a big-time way against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Can they respond once again against the New England Patriots? If the Broncos want to have a chance at the postseason, they’ll have to win their next three games and hope they get some help from other teams along the way.

Regardless of how the season ends, we’ve seen this Broncos team transform their identity that should surely help them going into next season.

“I think it’s going to be very important,” Broncos head coach Sean Payton said on his Monday conference call. “We all watched the games yesterday and you get caught up in the numbers and the percentages. You can only focus on the things you can control and it’s obviously getting ready to play New England and that’s it. Focus on getting this next win because that’s really all that matters. It’s going to take three wins, but it starts with this week.”

Their room for error is gone going forward, but how they approach these next three games is entirely in their control. One of their key challenges will be trying not to get caught slipping by a dangerous New England Patriots team.

Despite the Patriots’ 3-11 record this season, they are very much a threat to ending Denver’s playoff hopes this week. Bill Belichick has New England’s defense playing it’s typical brand of stingy and aggressive football.

Belichick will likely utilize a similar strategy to that of Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn this past weekend.

“We kind of just saw it a little bit in [Lions Defensive Coordinator] Aaron Glenn,” Payton said on Monday. “Those guys in Detroit did a good job. There were a number of snaps where they were going to double [WR] Courtland [Sutton]. We’ve had a number of games. I can recall one game in New England with [Saints TE] Jimmy Graham, where [former Patriots CB Aqib] Talib went wherever Jimmy went and really did a good job shutting him down. It really forced us to find other receivers. It’s one of the things that [Patriots Head Coach] Bill [Belichick] historically has done very well. He’s going to try to loot your strengths and I think that’s what good defensive coach coaching is—trying to force you to do things maybe you don’t do as well.”

The main story for New England’s struggles this season have been related to their lack of consistent offensive production, but Bailey Zappe has produced more competent looks for them since taking over the starting job from Mac Jones.

With Denver coming off of a game where they struggled to get after Jared Goff and couldn’t stop the run, the Patriots will look to exploit those areas of the field that the film demonstrated against the Lions.

It’s all or nothing for the Broncos this week as they host the Patriots on Sunday for a Christmas Eve showdown.