Denver Broncos versus Washington Commanders
The Commanders were favored by seven points last week against the Arizona Cardinals, a team most of the planet believes will be the worst team in the NFL. The Commanders put themselves in a spot where they needed to score ten points in the fourth quarter to rally versus a team shaped by their lowly head coach, Jonathan Gannon. Those aren't great vibes.
Washington travels to Denver to see what new (not ‘new-new’ but ‘used-new’) Broncos’ head coach Sean Peyton has in store for them with his insufferable quarterback, Russel Wilson.
This is a weird year for the Broncos. They hired the new head coach to try to ‘fix’ Wilson after he had a visually enjoyable, but statistically and realistically terrible season in 2022. To be fair to Peyton, he’s good at what he does: Set people straight, coach cohesive football games, and offer bounties to players whenever they injure opposing players. He’s actually elite at the last one of those.
If Denver wants to be taken seriously in what should be a very competitive AFC West, they cannot afford to lose two of their nine home games. This really isn't an interesting affair though.
Only one team in the AFC West won a game last week, so if the Broncos, it isn't the end of the world. This is a non-conference game for both teams, so it may not affect tie-breakers later.
Still, a loss would be incredibly embarrassing for Denver. The only position group where Washington has more talent is the defensive line, unless of course, you see an edge at wide receiver.
Broncos offense versus Commanders defense
Denver has rebuilt their offensive line. Wilson was sacked 55 times last year, so that was a priority for them in the offseason.
They’re going to be tested this week with Daron Payne, Montez Sweat, and Jonathan Allen applying the pressure. Last week, that combo accounted for 2.5 sacks, six tackles for a loss, and four QB hits. Those big guys are pretty good at what they do, and that Denver offensive line is going to have their work cut out for them.
Luckily for the Broncos (and us), they are getting wide receiver and playmaker, Jerry Jeudy back from an injury. He had a hammy during training camp and he’s set to make his debut on Sunday. If there’s a guy who can mask how washed up Russell Wilson is, it’ll have to be Jeudy.
Commanders offense versus Broncos defense
The Commanders’ offense is going to have a tough time here. The Broncos have a stout defense which is punctuated by All-Pro cornerback, Pat Surtain. Washington’s biggest weapon is wide receiver Terry McLaurin and Surtain is the type of cornerback that can nullify a player like Washhington's star.
Quarterback Sam Howell is going to make his first start in a hostile environment. His first game was at home against the Arizona Cardinals and he completed 61% of his throws for one touchdown and one interception while getting sacked six times. If that’s what he’s doing against a garbage Cardinals team, he’s more than likely going to have a really bad time on Sunday.
Prediction: Washington +3.5
By no means is Denver a complete team (or even a good team). Their defense isn’t bad though, and Washington had a hard time moving the ball last week against a Cardinals defense lacking talent at nine of the eleven positions.
Denver’s defense is their stronger side of the ball and that’s going to show here. It’s reasonable and even expected that there won’t be a whole lot of points in this game, with an over/under of 38.5. This game will be close, but the Broncos will walk away with the win.