If The Broncos Want To Upset The Saints, It’s Simple: Feed Phil!

Posted on November 24, 2020 - Last Updated on November 29, 2020

Feed Phillip Lindsay.

For weeks fans and media alike pined for the Denver Broncos to do just that.

Lindsay finally got to eat in the Broncos 20-13 upset win over the Miami Dolphins.

Lindsay finished with 16 carries for 82 yards.

Denver’s running back didn’t exactly gorge himself, but it was just the right amount.

Lindsay is the heart and soul of the Broncos offense.

To use another analogy, he’s the fuel that makes the engine run.

Feed Phil

In order for that to happen, Denver needs to feed Lindsay.

Chew on this:

When Lindsay has at least 15 carries, the Broncos have won six-straight games. In his three-year career, Denver is 10-4 when he gets 15 carries or more.

As DNVR’s Ryan Koenigsberg pointed out, since Lindsay entered the NFL in 2018, Denver is 3-5 in games where any other back on the roster gets 15 or more carries.

There are multiple ways to look at those numbers, but it’s pretty simple: The Broncos are better on offense when Lindsay is involved.

In other words, Denver needs to feed Phil.

If he’s going, the rest of offense clicks; especially the ground attack.

The Broncos running game had its best showing of the season. As a team, Denver had 33 carries for 189 yards.

When the Broncos rush the ball that well, it brings balance to the offense and takes the pressure off quarterback Drew Lock.

With the New Orleans Saints (8-2) up next, Denver (4-6) will need to have a similar performance from the running game. That’s even more true as of Saturday night when all of the Broncos quarterbacks were ruled out by the NFL over violation of COVID-19 protocols.

So now Lindsay really should get a heavy load on Sunday (if the game does happen).

Broncos vs Saints odds

There’s no doubt the Broncos played their best game of the season in their win against Miami.

The balance on offense benefited the defense in a massive way.

It was complementary football.

The defense wasn’t forced to carry the brunt of the responsibility of keeping the team in the game. Instead, it could pin its ears back and just play.

As noted earlier, the Broncos will need to have a similar showing against New Orleans, even sans quarterback Drew Brees.

The various sportsbooks don’t like Denver’s chances (as noted above, the odds have shot up significantly due to the lack of QBs for the Broncos).

For those betting on the Broncos, they’re now 6-4 against the spread this season.

Can Denver cover again?

Saints defense is a major hurdle

For the Broncos to at least have a chance, they need to feed Phil.

They need to feed running back Melvin Gordon.

They need the offensive line to block as well as it did against the Dolphins. Now that Denver has no quarterbacks, this is the most important factor.

That’s a huge ask because the Saints defense is really, really good.

Just look at what the New Orleans unit did to the Atlanta Falcons in its 24-9 win.

The Saints defense had eight sacks and two interceptions.

Needless to say the New Orleans front will pose a huge problem for the Broncos.

As for Denver getting its running game going, the Saints are No. 2 in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (74.3).

So as good as the Broncos rushing attack was against Miami, it’ll need to be even better against New Orleans.

Emmanuel Sanders returns to Denver

In terms of the Broncos defense, New Orleans is still a dynamic offense even though Taysom Hill is at quarterback.

You still have running back Alvin Kamara and receiver Michael Thomas to deal with.

And don’t forget about receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who is making his first trip back to Denver after being traded to the San Francisco 49ers in 2019. Sanders will want to play a pivotal role in beating his former team. Since Thomas will get the focus, it could happen.

When you consider the up-and-down season Denver’s secondary has had, Sanders could pose a problem on Sunday.

The task in front of the Broncos is a massive one. The NFL betting world gives them no chance.

New Orleans is one of the best teams in the NFL and should be a Super Bowl betting favorite.

For Denver to have a puncher’s chance, it needs to feed Phil.

When Lindsay eats, it fuels the Broncos’ machine and makes anything and everything possible.

Now that Denver doesn’t have any quarterbacks eligible to play, Lindsay should get his bib prepared.

Photo by AP / David Zalubowski
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Ian St. Clair

Ian St. Clair is an award-winning sports journalist. He is a University of Northern Colorado graduate, Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics. Ian does a segment each Saturday on Klahr and Kompany on Denver radio station ESPN 1600 AM.

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