The Denver Broncos have dropped two heartbreaking games to the Cincinnati Bengals and Las Vegas Raiders back-to-back. With a slim, and we mean a very slim shot at the playoffs, Denver must beat the Los Angeles Chargers on the road to stay alive.
After losing to the Raiders, the seat for Vic Fangio has gotten hotter and Broncos Country is dying for an offense who produces points.
From who will coach Denver in 2022 to what to watch for against the Charges, the Mile High Sports team gives their insight on all things Broncos in Week 17.
Do you believe any of the Broncos coaches should have been let go following the disaster in Las Vegas?
JT Matthews (@JTMatthews01): I believe the Broncos need to clean house, but to do so with two games left is unnecessary. Unless Denver has a coach in waiting that it is hoping to plug into that role, they need to just finish out the season make moves after the season is over.
Lindsay Bebout (@lindsaybebout): While it would have been enjoyable because I don’t like them, I think it sets a message that they don’t care about the rest of the season. With such young talent, I want them to get as many legitimate game reps as possible.
Nicholas Manning: I see two ways it can work in Fangio’s favor. First, if Denver wins out and somehow lands in the playoffs. Paton may take that as a sign this team is closer to contention with Fangio than without him. The second scenario is if the incoming veteran quarterback signs off on Fangio as the head coach but brings in his offensive system.
JT Matthews: I don’t believe so. Vic has done a nice job with defense but otherwise, he hasn’t held up his part of the bargain. The Broncos were playoffs or bust. Since the Broncos are trending towards bust, his head is in the metaphorical guillotine.
Zach Segars: I think there is a scenario in which Paton tasks Fangio with running the defense and Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson with running the offense (a la Peyton Manning), but I also think that outcome has a very low probability of happening.
Rich Kurtzman: Certainly. The truth is, we don’t know what Paton thinks of him. And his defense has been incredible despite a ton of injuries. Still, it doesn’t seem likely he is retained.
If you had to guess today, who’s the Broncos head coach and quarterback in 2022?
JT Matthews: Dan Quinn seems to be the scuttlebutt most recently and I would happily accept that hire if it were the choice of the Broncos front office. Quinn is a head coach that has taken a team to a Super Bowl and is a Super Bowl winning coordinator. The Broncos defense would continue to be in good hands and Quinn has the resume to demand the respect of his players, even an impending veteran quarterback if that scenario plays out.
Zach Segars: What I think is different from my ideal world, but right now I think we’ll see Dan Quinn and Russell Wilson reuniting in Denver. Still pretty sweet!
Rich Kurtzman: Vic Fangio and Matt Ryan.
What will you be watching for Sunday against the Chargers?
Lindsay Bebout: I will be at the game in person in LA! While the Broncos’ playoff chances are dead, I’m pulling hard for Drew Lock to shine.
Zach Segars: Can Drew Lock play clean consistently? Throughout his pro. and collegiate career, he had demonstrated he was unable to do so, but perhaps he’s turned over a new leaf.
Joey Richards: The offensive line can’t get punched in the face like they did last game. The Broncos have to return to their old ways of running the football efficiently to control the clock. If they do, they can put their defense in a better position to win.
Rich Kurtzman: Drew Lock needs to impress. I’d like to see 2-3 touchdowns and zero turnovers from him with solid game management.
Score predictions and why?
Zach Segars: 24-21 Broncos. The Chargers are the better team, and they’ve turned the heat up offensively since their loss to the Broncos, but Denver is also perfectly constructed to limit LA’s strengths and attack their weaknesses.
Nicholas Manning: Part of me believes the Broncos have no shot to win this game. Then again, anytime this team has been counted out they respond in a big way. Similar to the last matchup between the Chargers and Broncos, Denver got a win when no one expected it to. This time will be no different, Broncos win 24-21.
JT Matthews: Unfortunately, I will have to predict a 20-9 Broncos loss to the Chargers. The Broncos will be short several starters and Justin Herbert is still a tough opponent. Even if Herbert has experienced some issues against Fangio’s defenses in the past, he will make enough plays this week.
Joey Richards: 24-21 Chargers. Playing with a backup quarterback and a low-scoring offense, there is a ton of pressure on the Broncos’ defense to play perfectly. At the end of the day, Justin Herbert will play just good enough to pull out a win.
Rich Kurtzman: Broncos lose 30-20. The offense will sputter again and Denver’s secondary will be possibly missing a bunch of key guys.