Heading into Week 18, what means more to Broncos, beating the Chiefs or draft positioning?

Jan 2, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) sets to pass in the second half the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos have lost three straight critical games and are officially bounced from post-season play. On top of that, the team will finish with a fifth straight losing season.

After losing to the Chargers, Vic Fangio may be coaching his last game in Denver today, and the same is likely true for many of his assistants.

But, would a win against the Chiefs help Fangio? And, would it be better to win today for the future of the team or lose and improve draft positioning?

What were your bright spots from Sunday’s loss to the Chargers?

JT Matthews (@JTMatthews01): As I wrote earlier in the week, Garett Bolles was an absolute monster against Joey Bosa and Co. last week. He has continued his dominant play from last season and has been by far the most consistent player on offense. The Broncos are lucky to have him as an anchor for years to come.

Lindsay Bebout (@lindsaybebout): Brandon McManus kicking a personal career-best 61-yard field goal.

Nicholas Manning (@Dr_NManning): Patrick Surtain was all that and a bag of potato chips as the kids say (okay, they don’t). Nevertheless, Surtain was phenomenal.
Joey Richards (@JRDrafts): Being such a fan of the draft, losing improves the Broncos’ odds at getting a higher draft pick. With that loss to the Chargers, the Broncos now have better assets to trade for the position that all of Broncos Country has long been awaiting, a quarterback.

Rich Kurtzman (@RichKurtzman): Drew Lock didn’t turn the ball over, which was solid. And when Lock is in, Noah Fant seems to shine, which is always good.

Zach Segars (@Zach_Segars):  Patrick Surtain doing a marvelous job against Keenan Allen—one of the best separators in the league—was very promising. The Broncos have found themselves a stud at a premier position.
What matters more for the Broncos, ending the streak versus the Chiefs or improving draft positioning?

Nicholas Manning: I can never present losing as a good idea. The difference of a few selections does not equal beating a Chiefs team with everything to play for. Going into the offseason with some positive vibes could be good for this franchise. I trust George Paton to be able to make up the difference in draft positioning with a key move here or there.

JT Matthews: At this point, give me the better draft pick. In all likelihood, there will be a lot of turnover from this roster, as well as in the coaching rooms. Give whoever the new owner(s) will be an additional point of motivation going into the 2022 season and get the more valuable draft pick while you can.

Lindsay Bebout: It doesn’t matter because the Broncos have absolutely no chance of winning this game. You can start celebrating better draft positioning right now.

Zach Segars: Improving draft positioning for sure. That draft pick will be huge in Denver’s play to acquire a superstar QB, so the higher the better.

Joey Richards: Improving draft position is for sure more important at this stage. Building a good team that can compete with the Chiefs for years to come is much more important than winning a game that in the grand scheme of things is meaningless.

Rich Kurtzman: Winning should always be the No. 1 priority. Some, if not many, of these players won’t be in Denver next year, so they don’t care about draft position. But, we all know Kansas City is going to run over Denver with ease.

If the Broncos win against the Chiefs Sunday does that impact your view on Fangio’s return either way?

JT Matthews: No. Fangio has not done enough on the field to garner consideration for another year at the helm. He hasn’t been terrible and the team has seen strides with him as the head coach, but finishing last in the division again and his management of offensive personnel and game-planning has left us wanting much more. Let’s move on and try to find someone better equipped to re-establish the Denver Broncos as a winning franchise.

Lindsay Bebout: If the Broncos win against the Chiefs on Sunday, it’s because every single member of their team got COVID which will have nothing to do with Fangio. There’s literally nothing he can do at this point to make me think he should be a head coach of an NFL team.
Nicholas Manning: From a 30,000-foot view, the answer is a simple “no.” Paton has enough data to decide without the input from a meaningless game to finish the season. That said, if the Broncos win by multiple scores it could change some of the negativity in Broncos Country, and maybe shows this team is closer to winning than it feels.

Zach Segars: No, not really. It’d be kinda fun and exciting, but basing an important head coaching decision on one game is foolish. Fangio brings some nice things to the table, but the head coach chair is too much for him.

Joey Richards: This game has zero impact on whether Fangio should be retained in my eyes. Fangio is finishing his third season with the Broncos and we have plenty of a sample size to decide on him now. One game doesn’t erase the good or bad of these past three years.

Rich Kurtzman: Fangio should return if they win, yes. And he may either way. Although, I’m sure there are other, better coaching candidates out there. I’d like to see someone young, exciting, and offensive-minded as the next head man.

When Black Monday comes, does any of the coaching staff remain?

Nicholas Manning: I assume a handful of position coaches could and should be kept around. Zach Azzanni (wide receivers), Mike Munchak (offensive line), Chris Kuper (assistant offensive line), Curtis Modkins (running backs), Reggie Herring (linebackers), Bill Kollar (defensive line), John Pagano (outside linebackers), and Christian Parker (defensive backs) have all done some good things. Whether or not they mesh with the new coordinators or head coach coming in will be the question.

JT Matthews: It feels like if they are going to axe Fangio, so they may as well clean house. Shurmur and Tom McMahon have had far too many slip-ups and a new coach will likely want to bring in his guys. It’s time for a new regime.

Lindsay Bebout: Mike Munchak. He’s got a great reputation and an impressive track record. I think a new coach would be happy to keep him on his staff.

Zach Segars: I think some of the better position coaches will, but the coordinators and Fangio will be swept out. It’d surprise me if Munchak left, and Kollar, Azzanni, Modkins, and Harman — among others — have a good shot of sticking around too.

Joey Richards: While being overshadowed by plenty of bad, there are good coaches on the Broncos now. I would be shocked if at least some of the staff wasn’t retained for the season ahead. Specifically guys like Mike Munchak, who are widely regarded as one of the best in the league at what he does.

Rich Kurtzman: Maybe Fangio? The rest should already have their bags packed. Or, maybe they want Mike Munchak to be the next head coach? He has experience.

Score predictions and why?

Nicholas Manning: Denver just does not have enough horses in this matchup. With some key defenders out, the Broncos will likely surrender some big plays to the Chiefs. Thus, Kansas City wins 31-17.

JT Matthews: I am guesstimating a 35-20 loss for the Broncos against the Kansas City Chiefs. This is a team that is currently decimated by COVID and has nothing left to play for. Some young guys and contract players will give it their all, but at this point, the season is as good as over.

Lindsay Bebout: 27-17 Chiefs. Drew Lock will get a lot of help with players coming back off the COVID-19 list, but the Chiefs have too much on the line to take it easy.

Zach Segars: 27-10 Chiefs. Drew Lock has shown some really nice things over recent weeks, but he’s still struggling to move the offense and generate points. A matchup with his kryptonite — Chiefs DC Steve Spagnuolo — won’t help any.

Joey Richards:  I have the Broncos losing 27-13. Simply put, most players on the Broncos don’t have much to play for. Playing against a team that is coming off a loss and is playoff-bound, I think the Broncos loss badly.

Rich Kurtzman: Broncos lose 41-10. Kansas City has won the division six straight times for a reason. They have a ton of firepower, they need to win for positioning and the Broncos are really hurt right now, too. This one will be ugly (much like last week).

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