Previewing the Denver Broncos emotional matchup against the Detroit Lions

Sep 27, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) makes a touchdown catch as Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay (23) defends during the second quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Life is crazy. Tragedy strikes, we suffer heartbreak, loss is felt, and yet the world keeps going. No matter how much we want it to stop, it’s out of our control.

Denver Broncos legend Demaryius Thomas passed away in his home Thursday night, leaving fans numb, yet the 6-6 Broncos will face the 1-10-1 Detroit Lions on Sunday.  

In what is sure to be an emotional game for all, the Broncos come in as 10-point favorites.

Here’s what the Broncos can expect to face from the Lions in Week 14.

Lions on Offense

The Lions come into Sunday’s game as the 27th-ranked offense and face the Broncos’ defense, which ranks eighth overall.

In his first year as a Lion, Jared Goff is on track to have the worst statistical season of his career since 2017. While he has only thrown seven interceptions this season, he has also only thrown 13 touchdowns and is averaging 234.2 yards a game. 

Goff also has the 5th-most sacks in the league, as he’s been tackled in the backfield 30 times so far. It’s hard to imagine the Broncos’ front won’t make it a painful day for him.

The Lions’ have managed to rush for an average of 109.8 yards a game this season, but even that unit should be crippled Sunday. D’Andre Swift has yet to practice this week with a shoulder injury and will most likely be out on Sunday. Jamaal Williams has been decent in the No. 2 role. Unfortunately for the Lions, Williams was added to the COVID-19 reserve list on Friday. Veteran running back Godwin Igwebuike is likely to get his first NFL start on Sunday.

So far, not a single Lions’ wide receiver has more than two touchdowns. Tight end T.J. Hockerson currently leads the team with four. However, Hockenson is currently doubtful to play on Sunday with a hand injury. Last week, Denver allowed zero passing touchdowns against a Chiefs team with Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce. There’s a solid possibility they repeat that against this far weaker offense.

Lions on Defense

The Lions’ defense sits at No. 29, while the Broncos’ offense places at No. 20. 

The Lions have been dreadful at stopping the run, finishing near the bottom of the league. While Denver’s offense as a whole has been less than stellar, their rushers have been dominant. Signs are pointing towards Melvin Gordon returning this Sunday. Expect him and Javonte Williams to run free.

Teddy Bridgewater has been sacked 27 times this season. The return of Garret Bolles and Bobby Massie last week was a significant upgrade for their offensive line, and they should have no problems with protecting the quarterback this week.

Lions’ outside linebackers Trey Flowers and Romeo Okwara are on the injured reserve list. Unfortunately for Detroit, outside linebackers Julian Okwara and Austin Bryant did not practice Thursday with ankle and shoulder injuries. 

Jerry Jeudy will be in the slot up against safety turned nickel-corner, Will Harris. That means Jeudy, who hasn’t scored a touchdown yet this season, is set up nicely to end his drought.

Score Prediction: 24-10, Broncos

May this Sunday’s game bring us all closer, remind us to love harder, and encourage more kindness.

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