The Denver Broncos have hit a fork in the road.
Drew Lock and the Broncos are on the heels of a 43-16 flogging to the rival Kansas City Chiefs.
While the loss isn’t a surprise, it’s the final score that is. And even that doesn’t do justice to just how lopsided last Sunday’s game was.
Up next is rookie quarterback Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers.
Both teams enter this Sunday’s game at 2-4.
Here’s the conundrum for those betting on the Broncos entering Sunday’s game:
Can Denver take the correct fork in the road to at least have a seat at the table to feast on the remainder of the season?
Or will the Broncos fall back in the standings, lose their seat, and, with it, their appetite?
Broncos vs Chargers odds
The top CO betting apps don’t like Denver’s chances on Sunday.
And the Broncos are playing at home.
They’ve opened as a 3-point underdog.
That says a lot about Lock and Denver right now.
It also says a lot about Herbert and the Chargers.
Los Angeles beat the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday after two tough losses on the road to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints. Both of those defeats came with the Chargers having the lead entering the fourth quarter. For those who bet on the NFL in CO, it made those losses even tougher.
That, coupled with how the Broncos looked on Sunday, likely explains why they’re the underdog on Sunday.
How Denver gets the win
It’s pretty simple, really. Lock must play better on Sunday.
The Broncos quarterback wasn’t good against the Chiefs. Yes, struggles were inevitable; especially against one of the best teams in the NFL. But how he responds against LA will have a huge part in how the game unfolds.
To add to the angst in the Colorado sports betting market, Herbert has played incredibly well.
The good news is Lock knows he must play better.
As he told the media after the game on Sunday:
“Just being a man about your business. You can have a bad week at your job but you’ve got to come in and bring the same energy and bring the same fire the next week. That’s what we’re going to do. The cliché is that we’ve got to learn from the tape, watch it, and come in next week and get better. You just can’t let one week throw you off course.”
Broncos defense must show up
One of the major disappointments from Sunday is how well Denver’s defense played.
The Broncos held Patrick Mahomes to 200 yards passing and 0-for-8 on third down. They were also able to get good pressure on Mahomes and hit him.
Yet because of how unspecial Denver’s special teams were and the four turnovers on offense, including a pick-six, it was all for not.
— Ryan Edwards (@redwardsradio) October 26, 2020
As Ryan Edwards pointed out, Kansas City’s average starting field position was its 43-yard line. The Broncos average starting field position was their own 23.
Getting the defense to play as effectively again as it did against the Chiefs is the first step.
Pressure, hit and sack Herbert. Make the rookie uncomfortable. Switch up the defensive looks.
Win the turnover battle
The Broncos also need to create turnovers.
Steal some possessions and give extra opportunities for the offense to score points.
After that, it falls on Lock and the offense to improve.
Hopefully running back Phillip Lindsay is able to play on Sunday. It’s abundantly clear he’s the heart and soul of Denver’s offense, and it needs him on the field. Before Lindsay left with a concussion, he had 79 yards on nine carries. More importantly, he doesn’t fumble.
The Broncos have hit a fork in the road.
Will they take it and give themselves a chance to feast?
Or will they fall back even further, lose their seat at the table, and, with it, their appetite?