ENGLEWOOD — The Denver Broncos are approaching the 72-hour mark before they kick off their second game of the season at home against the Washington Commanders. What will the Broncos keys to victory be against them on Sunday?

Denver Broncos gearing up for Sunday showdown with Washington

Sunday’s game between the Denver Broncos and Washington Commanders has much at stake for both teams. The Broncos are looking to be 1-1 in opposition to starting 0-2 on the season with some tough games ahead of them.

The Commanders have a refreshed sense of energy under new ownership led by Josh Harris. They’re looking to start the season 2-0.

The Broncos will have their hands full trying to contend with a very strong Commanders front seven that features Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen, Chase Young, and others.

Denver Broncos offense has to find a way to prevent backfield penetration

The size, power, and athleticism of the Commanders’ defensive line will pose a challenge to the Broncos’ renovated offensive line this week. After holding their ground against Maxx Crosby and the Las Vegas Raiders rush, Denver will face several big challenges this week.

As mentioned, Montez Sweat, Chase Young, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Jamin Davis, and Cody Barton have pressure-creating ability against the pass and the run.

Broncos head coach Sean Payton talked about what he saw from Washington’s unit on tape.

“They create a lot of minus plays,” Payton said. “Just looking at the cutups—you’ll see 2nd-and-12s. I’m not even talking about rushing the passer. Just within the framework of the run game, they’re really active, and they’re athletic. All of those guys have had great college careers. A lot of them are first round draft picks that are playing well. The defense kind of feeds off that. They’re a handful. You have to look closely at what you want to do in the running game, and then, certainly in the protections, as well.”

The Commanders sacked the Arizona Cardinals three times in their Week 1 victory but also forced two fumbles. Russell Wilson and the offense will have to find a way to establish the run and take shots when they pop up in the passing game.

Last week, Denver found success running the football with Javonte Williams and Samaje Perine combining for 94 yards on 21 carries between the two. Washington allowed the Cardinals to rush for 96 yards in Week 1.

If Denver can get Williams, Perine, and undrafted rookie free agent Jaleel McLaughlin involved and establish success early, the recipe to mitigate the pass rush from Washington’s front seven dissipates.

Broncos defense has to find ways to fluster Sam Howell, young Commanders offense

The Commanders’ offense features a variety of young players, including quarterback Sam Howell. Howell presents an interesting dynamic because of his athleticism.

Last week against the Cardinals, he threw for 202 yards on 19-of-31 efficiency with one touchdown and one interception. Denver can impact him by generating pressure this week with their pass rush.

Keep in mind, pass rush isn’t solely something expected from outside linebackers alone. A lot of unfair dialogue gets placed on that position solely for generating pressure.

How good units thrive is when the defensive line can pressure the interior, creating an uneasy pocket and forcing quarterbacks to try and scramble outside. Another key is when a defensive line can command double teams to help free up one-on-one opportunities for outside linebackers.

Denver’s front seven didn’t see many opportunities to do that last week because of the Las Vegas Raiders embracing condensed formations. Washington will likely not come out in many of those looks this week.

A good pass rush will help the Broncos’ secondary limit big play opportunities from a talented receiving core that features Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, Jahan Dotson, and Jamison Crowder.

More than likely, we’ll see the Broncos embrace a lot of nickel and dime looks this week when Washington looks to spread it out offensively.

The Broncos will also have to adapt to Commanders’ rushers Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson Jr., two capable slasher-type of backs. Gibson Jr. has struggled with ball security, including losing one fumble last week.

Jerry Jeudy upgraded from limited to full participant in Thursday’s practice

The Denver Broncos could receive a significant boost in the receiving core this weekend as Jerry Jeudy inches closer and closer to returning to the lineup.

After being considered a game-time decision last week, Jeudy did an on-field workout pregame and moved well, but Denver held him out as a precautionary measure.

On Thursday, Jeudy’s practice participation was upgraded from limited to full, which is a great sign that he’ll make his season debut this Sunday.

Thursday’s injury report is as follows:

Did Not Participate: 

  • Tight end Greg Dulcich (hamstring) worked on the team side field.
  • Outside linebacker Frank Clark (hip) did not participate after being a limited participant on Wednesday. He’s expected to miss the next few weeks of action.


  • Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (hamstring) upgraded from limited to full participation.
  • Cornerback Riley Moss (abdomen) upgraded from limited to full participation.
  • Defensive lineman D.J. Jones (knee) upgraded from limited to full participation.

The Denver Broncos will wrap up practice on Friday before having a walkthrough on Saturday

Game Notes:

Kickoff for the game is set for 2:25 p.m. MT on Sunday. According to Bet365, the Broncos are currently favored on the moneyline at -185 and on the spread -3.5. Bet365 has one of the best signup offers for NFL Week 2. New customers can bet $1 and receive $365 in Bonus Bets. All the details can be found here.