MHS Broncos Roundtable: Denver has something to prove and who must step up to stop Jackson?

Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) reacts after a play in the fourth quarter against the New York Jets at Empower Field at Mile High.
Sep 26, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) reacts after a play in the fourth quarter against the New York Jets at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Will the Broncos step up against their first real test in the Ravens? What does our team think the final score be?

Another week and another discussion from the Mile High Sports Broncos team. Here is what they think about Denver’s upcoming matchup against the Baltimore Ravens and each shared their insight. Let’s dive go!

Are you impressed by the early victories against the Giants, Jaguars, and Jets? Or does this team have more to prove?

Lindsay Bebout (@lindsaybebout): Both. The Broncos didn’t just win, they dominated which is something completely different.  The wins should not be invalidated, but they need to beat some caliber playoff teams to prove that they’re a playoff-caliber team themselves!

Nicholas Manning (@Dr_NManning): The Broncos dominated each of their opponents. In a league where games are often decided by a touchdown or less, the Broncos are winning by double-digits. You would obviously like them to replicate it against better competition, but you can only play who is on your schedule. However, to show they belong as this weekend will be a good measuring stick. Sunday will be a test of their metal.

Joey Richards (@JRDrafts): While the sample size is small and the competition level is low, there is plenty to be encouraged about. Through all three games, the Broncos haven’t just won but dominated. They did exactly what good teams do to bad teams and should be discussed in a positive manner because of it.

JT Matthews (@JTMatthews01): Yes, I am impressed by the Broncos’ victories, and also, this team has more to prove. I have faith in this roster as it is composed but they need to prove that they can compete with upper-echelon teams, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Teddy Bridgewater has done a lot of nice things thus far but he needs to have a moment where he shows that he can command this team against the league’s more competitive teams.

Zach Segars (@Zach_Segars): Both! The Broncos did just about everything you could’ve wanted them to do against lackluster opponents, but they also need to prove they can do it against quality teams.

How can this team keep up its winning ways in spite of losing key contributors each week?

Joey Richards: Dispute the oft-said “next man up” phrase, talent level matters. This will be a true testament to the quality of depth the Broncos have. For the Broncos to continue to win, the coaching staff must play with different personnel groupings to help mitigate the issue if the depth doesn’t suffice.

Lindsay Bebout: It’s a darn good thing that George Paton added so much depth this offseason. The special team needs to not be a hot mess and allow bogus touchdowns. Also, the run game needs to be better to put less pressure on the receivers.

Nicholas Manning: No team can withstand injures to their stars long-term. Hopefully, they can avoid the injury bug over the rest of the season. Thanks to their depth, and Teddy Bridgewater’s wonderful start, they can withstand it until they get guys back and healthy.

JT Matthews: To keep winning, this team needs to continue to win the turnover battle. The Broncos are plus-three in turnover differential and it will be an important metric all season long. The more chances you give this offense, the better your prospects in making noise come playoff time.

Who must play big against Lamar Jackson for the Broncos to win?

Joey Richards: There is no stopping Lamar Jackson, you can only hope to contain him. As one of the best open-field runners in the league, the entire defensive line must play extremely disciplined. Making his off-script ability as difficult as possible will give the Broncos their best shot at winning this game.

Zach Segars: It’s so hard to say now without knowing what Denver’s game plan for Jackson is, but Malik Reed and the rest of the young rotational pass rushers seem like a safe bet. Baltimore puts a lot of strain on your edge defenders, and they will probably target Reed over Miller.
JT Matthews: In order for Denver to succeed against the Broncos they have to be able to contain Lamar Jackson on the ground. It will be crucial for Denver’s front seven to contain him and let the secondary feast.

Lindsay Bebout: Teddy needs to keep playing at the same elite level he’s been playing at; Alexander Johnson and Malik Reed need to force a turnover; Patrick Surtain needs to not allow a Sterling Sheperd repeat!

Nicholas Manning: The Broncos front seven, and specifically Dre’Mont Jones. His play has been underrated so far this season. Several seasons ago former Bronco Jurrell Casey dominated Jackson and the Ravens from inside to help the Titans win in Baltimore. A similar effort from Jones could really change the completion of the game.

If the Broncos win against the Ravens, who will be the story of the game?

Zach Segars: Teddy Bridgewater. The Ravens are not a great defense, but for some reason, this game has been hyped up as the one that will let us know if he will inexplicably forget how to play quarterback against competitive defenses. Let the Bridgewater parade commence!
Joey Richards: Teddy Bridgewater will be the story of the game if the Broncos come out with a win. Much like any other NFL game, the quarterback position is the most important position. Being 4-0 under Bridgewater will surely grab the headlines.

Lindsay Bebout: I don’t think anyone is questioning the strength of the Broncos’ defense or offensive players…except for Teddy Bridgewater.  If he wins this game, I think that quashes all skepticism about whether or not he is the real deal.

JT Matthews: The story would have to surround Teddy Bridgewater and his ability to make plays under pressure. He does not need to go out there and be perfect but he needs to minimize mistakes. If he can do that, the Broncos have the ability to snatch a victory away from Baltimore.
Nicholas Manning: I’ll buck the trend and say the offensive line. If Teddy Bridgewater can stay clean and the Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon have success on the ground, the Broncos stand a good chance to win this game.

What is your final score prediction this week and why?

Zach Segars: 23-20 Broncos. I trust Vic Fangio to draw up a defensive game plan that can limit Jackson to some extent, especially considering the defensive talent. Meanwhile, the offense is playing great, still has a lot of weapons, and Baltimore’s defense is probably worse than that of either New York.

Lindsay Bebout: 30-24 Broncos win. The Broncos are banged up, but so are the Ravens. I think Teddy is playing well enough that he can keep up with Lamar Jackson and the Broncos have a much better defense overall!

JT Matthews:  I am going to say this will be a 28-24 Broncos win. I have not been overly impressed by the Ravens this season. They are a talented team but are not the defensive stalwart they have been in recent history. I am worried from an attrition standpoint in the Broncos’ ability to hang in and compete in a slugfest, but until they lose I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt at home, with a rowdy crowd on their side.

Joey Richards: 17-13 with the Broncos winning the game. Both teams suffering because of a plethora of injuries, both offenses will struggle. Specifically, I think the Ravens will have a tough time passing against the Broncos secondary and an injured Broncos interior offensive line will struggle mightily against a strong Ravens front seven.

Nicholas Manning: Broncos shock the national media and win the game 24-20. Jackson will play heroically, but the defense will step up with several key stops. Bridgewater will play better than most expect and Denver pulls to 4-0.