This Sunday, the Denver Broncos hope to end their four-game losing streak against the Washington Football Team.
After getting off to a hot 3-0 start, the Broncos (3-4) have all but completely fallen apart. Fans are demanding that the coaching staff be fired while the team keeps trying to convince the public that there’s no need to panic yet.
On Sunday, they’ll face a team with a worse record but comparable offensive stats. It’s an opportunity for the Broncos to prove that they shouldn’t be counted out yet.
Denver goes into Sunday’s game as 3.5 point favorites, but injuries are sure to play a factor. Both teams have some key players on their injury report that could swing the game in different directions depending on if they play.
Here’s what the Broncos can expect to face from the Washington Football Team (2-5) in Week 8.
Washington Football Team on Offense
Washington enters the game as the 20th ranked in overall offense, and part of that poor ranking might be the result of poor quarterback play.
Taylor Heinicke is the team’s starting quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick went down in Week 1 with a hip injury that will keep him on the sidelines for the foreseeable future.
Although he’s not as adept as a passer, he provides a rushing element that Fitzpatrick, demonstrated by the fact he currently ranks fourth among quarterbacks in rushing yards at 222.
Heinicke should also be aggressive in the passing game and target wide receiver Terry McLaurin deep down the field. In three of their last four games, the Broncos have allowed a passing touchdown of at least 48 yards or more, and McLaurin could certainly exploit it.
McLaurin’s Sunday status is still up in the air, but if he plays, he’ll likely be going up against rookie cornerback Patrick Surtain II.
Von Miller is listed as questionable with an ankle injury he suffered last week, which — if he were to miss the game — greatly diminishes the Broncos’ chances of causing a turnover and makes Heinicke’s job a lot easier.
Despite having their first-string and second-string running backs out, the Browns ran all over the Broncos for 182 total rushing yards last week, and that could continue this week.
So far this season, Antonio Gibson has primarily underwhelmed, however, if recent performances from Najee Harris, Josh Jacobs and D’Ernest Johnson are any indication, this might be an opportunity for him to finally have a breakout game.
Washington Football Team on Defense
On the other side of the ball, Washington comes to Denver with the 29th overall defense in terms of yards, but they rank 11th in scoring defense.
Going into the season, the expectations were that Washington would have one of the best defenses in the league. However, that couldn’t be further from the case.
The good news for the Football Team is that Teddy Bridgewater could still be injured for this week’s game.
On Tuesday, he admitted that he was only 70-75% percent healthy against the Browns. Since returning from the injury that kept him off the field for the Ravens’ second half, the Bridgewater has five touchdowns and four interceptions. WFT is currently ranked 32nd in scoring defense but could force a turnover or two if Bridgewater tries to hold onto the ball too long.
However, with that said, Bridgewater was a full participant in practice this week.
Jerry Jeudy is expected to return for the first time since suffering a high-ankle sprain in Week 1.
He will make life hard for a defense that already ranks dead-last in passing defense. Given the favorable matchup, Jeudy should have a massive game and help a lot of people win their fantasy matchups.
Washington’s biggest strength has been their rushing defense, which ranks 10th in rushing yards per game allowed. Denver currently ranks as the 18th-best rushing offense, so it might be a difficult matchup.
With Bridgewater so banged up, the Broncos will probably rely heavily on the run. Javonte Williams has shown bursts of greatness, but the Broncos run game overall has been average. If they want to win, Melvin Gordon and Williams must be efficient.
Score Prediction: Broncos 20, WFT 17
Kickoff is set for 2:25 p.m. MST on Sunday, October 31, 2021, at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado.