The Denver Broncos will have one final practice on Saturday before they depart for Monday Night Football’s matchup against the Buffalo Bills. What are three storylines to follow leading up to primetime?

Denver Broncos eager to go on a run beginning with the Buffalo Bills

After winning two straight games before heading into the bye week, including a big victory against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Denver Broncos are in a prime position to make some noise in the second half of the schedule.

With the roster being the healthiest it has been in recent memory, Denver’s second half slate is fresh and wide open.

Can Broncos pass rush get after Josh Allen?

One of the biggest catalysts for the Broncos’ recent success on defense is an increase in press by Denver’s pass rushers. Heading into Monday’s game against the Bills, the Broncos will have their work cut out to try to get after Josh Allen.

Allen is one of the least sacked quarterbacks around the NFL. He’s only been sacked 13 times, which ranks second in the league this season.

Allen’s size and mobile ability make him a difficult player to bring down inside the pocket. He’s demonstrated the ability to navigate out of pressure and extend drives with his legs both on and off structure.

Denver’s defense this season has only generated 17 sacks this season, which ranks near the bottom of the league. However, they’ve had a jump in production in the last few weeks.

Sacks aren’t the real metric to follow here, but if the Broncos’ defense can pressure and fluster Allen, he’s had a tendency to throw the football into tightly contested windows, elevating his risk of turning the football over.

“It’s a fine line,” Broncos defensive coordinator Vance Joseph said regarding defending Allen. “Obviously, he’s running and not sliding a lot. He does slide sometimes; it depends on the down and distance and if he’s close to the sidelines. He is a big man running, so you have to take your chances on the ‘D&D’ and if he is going to slide or not. You don’t know. It’s kind of a catch. If he is sliding and you go over top of the guy, it is probably going to be a penalty. If you don’t load up your body and your power, he can run over you, especially defensive backs and linebackers. It is tough to determine if he is sliding, if he is going to give himself up, run you over, or cut back on you. In the pocket, having a plan of attack for him will be important. He is a big guy who small guys struggle to get down. He’s a vicious runner, so we will see how it turns out on Monday. We will have a plan of attack for him and how we rush him will be important. It is a Top-5 offense in a lot of areas—points, yards, red zone and third downs. It’s been three out of four weeks of playing special offenses. It’s a lovely challenge for us and I am looking forward to it.”

Denver forced the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes to turn the ball over five times in their 24-9 victory in Week 8.

What type of role will Marvin Mims have in the second half of the season?

The curious case of Marvin Mims has been puzzling to say the least this season, and none of it has anything to do with him specifically. Broncos head coach Sean Payton acknowledged earlier in the week that he has been thinking of ways to utilize the speedy rookie threat even more offensively.

Mims has all of the tools and traits to be a significant contributor on offense which makes his utilization frustrating when watching it. He might be frustrated himself, but he never lets anybody know that, which is another telling sign of the type of player Denver drafted.

He’s fully embracing his role on offense even when not targeted, finding ways to be active as a blocker, and has been critical for Denver’s early success on the special teams side of the ball.

On Friday, Broncos offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said that he and the coaching staff are mindful of trying to get him more looks going forward.

“It’s a good question,” Lombardi said about getting Mims more touches. “It’s something that always happens when you have a number of good players. There’s always somebody that you can consider is getting shorted because there are only so many plays and so many balls. I think, sometimes on the outside, there’s this impression that they’re not trying to get the ball to somebody. If you sit in the meetings, there’s always this—you look at the plan, you’re like, ‘Alright, where’s [WR] Marvin [Mims] getting his touches? Where’s [WR] Courtland [Sutton] getting his touches? Where’s [WR] Jerry [Jeudy] getting his touches?’. It may feel balanced in your gameplan meetings and we just didn’t get to those plays. That certainly happens sometimes. Or we got to them, and the coverage dictated that the ball didn’t go to who you were hoping it went to. There’s a lot of factors that go into it, but I think we’ve all seen what Marvin’s capable of. We’re certainly mindful of trying to get him involved.”

How will Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos offense plan to attack the Bills defense?

Earlier in the season, Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos offense threw the football more than they have been in recent weeks. Part of that reason was relative to Denver’s struggles defensively and with them trailing in various games by more than two scores.

Wilson has been efficient as the man operating the Broncos offense this season, but Monday’s game against the Bills will test how far they’ve come.

He’s thrown for 16 touchdowns compared to just four interceptions while completing passes at a 66.1% completion percentage and a passer rating of 101.7.

Recently, the Broncos have invested heavily in the run game with Javonte Williams, Jaleel McLaughlin, Samaje Perine, and Wilson himself using his legs. Denver’s averaged over 135 rushing yards per game over the course of their last three games and should invest even more in it going forward.

The Bills defense is very banged up after they lost several key starters, including veteran linebacker Matt Milano. Buffalo right now allows opposing offenses to rush on average for 114.4 yards per game, which ranks 18th in the NFL.

More importantly, the offensive operation has been efficient regarding Denver’s recent success. If Wilson is throwing for 150 yards per game but has two or three touchdown passes, there is value to be had there.

In recent weeks, Denver’s offense has found more balance, which didn’t exist in the first five weeks of the season. If they can build on that against the Bills on Monday, they very well could go on a second-half run.