The Denver Broncos need some momentum in the biggest way before they head into the bye week. Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars will set the table for the second half of the season for Denver, something that team CEO Greg Penner has his eyes on.

Denver Broncos need a win in a big way

It’s no secret that this season has not panned out for the Denver Broncos the way many had anticipated after the acquisition of Russell Wilson and the hiring of first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett. Sitting at 2-5 ahead of Sunday’s early morning matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London, the Broncos need a win in the biggest way.

Denver’s second-half schedule is brutal on paper when you look at some of the teams they will have to face. Kansas City twice, Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens, the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers once more, Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans, Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals, the Carolina Panthers on the road, and a Christmas Day showdown against the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.

Broncos CEO Greg Penner has his eyes on how the team performs in the second half despite his disappointment with the team’s 2-5 start. In an interview with 9News’ Mike Klis, Penner shared Broncos fans’ frustrations. 

“It’s not the start we were looking for,’’ Penner said in his sit down with Klis. “It’s been disappointing so far. We had really high expectations coming in. We still have high expectations. The fans have high expectations of us. And we’re not where we need to be. That’s the challenge as we go into the second half of the season.

Heading into Sunday’s game against the Jaguars, speculation has been created surrounding Hackett’s future if Denver were to lose. Penner understands Hackett’s going through the growing pains of being a first-year head coach, but there is a standard the Broncos are looking to uphold.

“I support Nathaniel and really want to see him succeed,’’ Penner said to Klis. “He’s a first-time head coach. There’s a lot of new things to get in place. He and I talk every week, and I love talking with him about the game. He’s incredibly passionate. But he knows we’re not performing at the level we expect, but we’ve got high expectations for him in the second half.’’

High expectations for the second half. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, right? Part of a strong finish for this Broncos team means taking care of business in London against the Jaguars on Sunday.

Broncos offense needs to fill up the gas tank and catch up to the defense

Broncos Country, Let’s Ride! The mantra for this season came with a lot of hype, but the ride hasn’t even begun for the offense.

It’s time that the offense finds a way to fill up on gas and get things rolling. Through seven games, the Broncos’ offense ranks dead last in points per game (14.3) and red zone percentage (23.5%) not to mention 31st on 3rd down at 30.4%.

On the flip side, the Broncos defense is one of the NFL’s top-ranked units this season. Denver ranks 2nd defensively in net yards per game (286.0), 1st in yards per play (4.5), 3rd in points per game (16.4), 2nd in net passing yards allowed per game (173.1), 3rd in sacks (22), 5th on third down conversion percentage allowed (34%), and a staggering 1st in red zone percentage allowed (25%).

If Denver’s offense was ranked even a sliver close to 15th in points per game and efficiency, the Broncos may very well be over .500. Unfortunately that is not the reality as they sit there at 2-5. The Broncos’ defense has held up their end of the bargain, now it’s time that the offense helps them out.

Russell Wilson is expected to play on Sunday after missing last week with a partially torn hamstring. Will he be able to operate efficiently inside of the offense, will pass protection hold up for him, and can he maneuver out of the pocket and do what he does best? These are the biggest questions surrounding Sunday’s game vs. the Jags.

As it pertains to key threats the Broncos have to watch out for defensively, it starts and ends with Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne. Doug Pederson has done a tremendous job playing to the strengths of their players but has battled realms of inconsistency on offense, losing four straight games.

Lawrence has a multitude of weapons to throw to including Etienne, Marvin Jones, Evan Engram, Christian Kirk who leads the team in receiving yards, and former AFC West foe Zay Jones. It’s likely Surtain matches up on Kirk for a majority of the game, but there will be times he’ll have to cover other receivers as Pederson likes to move Kirk inside and outside.

The concern isn’t on the Broncos’ defense, but more so related to whether or not Denver can sustain having their defense on the field too long against an offense that has a variety of talent across the board. This is where the Broncos’ offense has to provide some relief going forward and it all starts on Sunday.

Broncos Final Injury Report:

The Denver Broncos have already ruled out five players for Sunday’s contest against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Cornerback Essang Bassey will miss his second consecutive game after suffering a hamstring injury against the Los Angeles Chargers two weeks ago. His impact on special teams has been highlighted by special teams coordinator Dwayne Stukes.

Outside linebacker Baron Browning will be out of Sunday’s game after suffering a hip flexor last Sunday in the Broncos’ loss against the New York Jets. Browning is considered week-to-week.

Special teams ace Tyrie Cleveland will miss Sunday’s game with a groin injury. Denver’s special teams unit has been decimated by injuries. Darius Phillips and Michael Ojemudia are two players that will have elevated roles on ST with the injuries to Cleveland and Bassey.

Offensive tackle Cam Fleming is out for Sunday’s game as he deals with a quad injury suffered against the Jets last Sunday. Calvin Anderson will start at left tackle in his place.

Safety Caden Sterns will miss Sunday’s game with a hip injury and will miss at least the next four games after the team placed him on injured reserve. Sterns has been battling through this specific hip injury since training camp.

Safety P.J. Locke popped up on the injury report for Sunday and is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. If Locke is unable to go, keep an eye on Anthony Harris being elevated to the gameday roster with a potential role inside dime personnel. Delarrin Turner-Yell is another name to keep an eye on for Sunday as well if Locke is unable to go.

The Broncos will kick off against the Jaguars at 7:30 a.m. MT on ESPN+ or locally on Denver7.

Stay tuned here at for post-game recap and more.

Cody Roark is Mile High Sports lead reporter covering the Denver Broncos — Cody covers every practice, every home and away game plus community events related to the organization. He also co-hosts The Afternoon Drive with Aniello Piro on Mile High Sports Radio and is the host of the Locked On Broncos podcast. You can follow Cody on Twitter and Instagram @CodyRoarkNFL.