Newman: Broncos’ roadmap back to relevancy in 2020 begins with an upset win in New England

Following a late-notice “bye week” in which Denver prepared for New England, only to have the game postponed twice, the Broncos sit at 1-3 with a tall mountain to climb to get into playoff contention.

But perhaps the positive coronavirus tests that led to the Broncos-Patriots game being moved to Week 6 were a blessing in disguise for Denver. The team is now more likely to have starting quarterback Drew Lock (out since Week 2 with a right shoulder injury) back Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

The whole premise of this orange-tinted outlook begins in Foxborough, where the underdog Broncos must find a way to limit Cam Newton and find dents in the stingy New England defense to spring an upset. From there, Denver hosts Kansas City on Oct. 25, a team even the late Barrel Man wouldn’t bet his hard-earned money on the Broncos defeating, given the Chiefs’ nine-game winning streak in the series.

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After the likely blasting by Patrick Mahomes & Co., based on this optimistic script, the Broncos would be 2-4 heading into a home game against the Chargers on Nov. 1. That’s when the real running-of-the-table would have to start for Denver to grab one of the AFC’s three wild-card spots. Kansas City is near-certain to cruise to a fifth consecutive AFC West title, even with the occasional stumble like the one seen in its upset loss to Las Vegas on Sunday.

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A win over Los Angeles would bring Denver to 3-4. Then the Broncos must take advantage of the Falcons’ disarray (coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff were fired Sunday) with a win in Atlanta on Nov. 8. Sitting at 4-4 at that point, Denver’s in for a tall task in Week 10 when the team makes its debut at Allegiant Stadium. Judging by the Raiders’ win over Kansas City, the Broncos will slip back under .500 on Nov. 15 in a loss that will again have pundits writing the early eulogy for Denver’s season.

According to this orange crystal ball, this is where Denver could really start to get hot down the latter half. The rescheduled home game against Miami on Nov. 22 (moved from Oct. 18) is a winnable game. A more challenging, albeit winnable, home game against Drew Brees and …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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