The Broncos’ loss to the Giants last week didn’t just cost them a game; star wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, return specialist Isaiah McKenzie and starting right tackle Menelik Watson all went down with injuries.

The fallout was both immediate and significant. While Sanders and McKenzie were both ruled out against the Chargers early in the week with ankle injuries, Watson’s absence was expected to be mitigated by backup Donald Stephenson. However, in practice this week, Stephenson suffered a calf injury and will miss Sunday’s divisional tilt, leaving Allen Barbre as the starting right tackle. Barbre, who had been playing left guard in a time-share with Max Garcia, played right tackle with the Eagles last season, and given the Broncos’ challenges in filling that role effectively, may end up staying there with a good performance. However, all that roster shuffling leaves the depth on the interior of the line dangerously thin. Coach Vance Joseph said on Friday that he expected to promote a lineman from the practice squad as soon as possible; The Denver Post’s Nicki Jhabvala intimated that 6-6, 330-pound Elijah Wilkinson was the most likely candidate.

For the decimated wide receiving corps, the loss of Sanders and McKenzie remove two of the Broncos’ most dynamic and explosive players from the equation. Cody Latimer, who has served as the kickoff returner and a ‘gunner’ of punts, won’t be able to step in thanks to a lingering knee injury that kept him out last week. Receiver Hunter Sharp was promoted from the practice squad and may be forced into duty immediately. While former Washington State standout River Cracraft was signed to the practice squad earlier in the week to replace Sharp, he was himself replaced by former Utah wideout Tim Patrick on Friday.

Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas nobly battled through a calf injury last week, and expects to play, along with middle linebacker Brandon Marshall who did the same with a shoulder injury. Both are expected to go on Sunday, but each could be limited. Joseph revealed that speedy linebacker Corey Nelson’s elbow injury would require surgery that will end his season, and that former Hawaii linebacker Jerrol Garcia-Williams will be promoted to replace him.

In Joseph’s first season as Broncos’ head coach, he’s in the midst of his first crisis: a devastating, embarrassing home loss, now complicated by injuries to major contributors and a road trip to a division rival. As the team looks to get back on track in a suddenly tight AFC West, how Joseph and his staff navigate these stormy seas may end up defining their season.