Broncos Look To Take Flight On Sunday For First 3-0 Start Since 2016

Posted By Ian St. Clair on September 20, 2021 - Last Updated on September 23, 2021

The Denver Broncos are 2-0.

And with it, belief and excitement has returned to Broncos Country. Yes, the Broncos beat two teams they should have defeated. But to go on the road for the respective team’s home opener and win in back-to-back weeks is no small feat. The recent history in Denver backs that up.

Now comes the home debut of Broncos starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Through the first two games, he’s been exactly what this offense and team has looked for since Peyton Manning retired. Teddy 2 Gloves has been calm, cool and confident.

Bridgewater and the Broncos will look to start a season 3-0 for the first time since 2016 when they host the lowly New York Jets (0-2) on Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High Stadium.

Jets vs Broncos odds

 

With Denver 2-0 and playing as well as it is, expect Mile High to rock on Sunday.

For the first time since 2019, full attendance is allowed. So there is extra motivation to create some Rocky Mountain Thunder.

After opening as a -5.5-point favorite, the Broncos betting odds have shot up a mile high. Denver is now a massive -point favorite over the Jets.

For what it’s worth, the Broncos have covered the spread the first two weeks of the season. And while it’s double digits, New York is off to a sluggish start, as is rookie quarterback Zach Wilson.

In his first two NFL starts, Wilson has thrown five interceptions and been sacked 10 times.

Up next is one of the toughest environments in the NFL against one of the best defenses in the league.

The other fascinating betting market for Sunday’s game is the over/under. That number sits at . The best shot at the over hitting is if Bridgewater and the Broncos offense have a great day. Keep in mind, the Jets still have a strong defense under first-year head coach Robert Saleh.

If you were interested, the under has hit the first two weeks of the season for Denver.

How the Broncos win/over

As Denver head coach Vic Fangio told the team in the locker room after Sunday’s 23-13 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars:

“The one that has me most excited is next week. We get back home, 2-0. That stadium’s gonna be lit up. Lit up! And we’ve gotta give ’em what they deserve and what we want.”

In other words, take advantage of the atmosphere on Sunday and fuel that into the game.

If the Broncos win the toss, expect them to defer the opening kickoff so Wilson and New York have to deal with that raucous crowd.

The biggest concern for Denver on defense is how it replaces linebacker Josey Jewell. The play caller on defense is lost for the season with a torn pec muscle. Instead of a “next man up,” it may come down to a rotation of Justin Strnad and Baron Browning. Another possibility is special teamer Jonas Griffith.

While it may not happen this week against the Jets, the loss of Jewell will eventually put stress on the Broncos defense. The good news is Fangio has the pieces around the linebackers to help limit that stress.

For this week, Von Miller, Shelby Harris and the rest of the defense need to make life miserable for Wilson and potentially pile up the sacks. That will allow the secondary to make plays and potentially get a defensive touchdown for the first time since 2019.

Gunslinger Teddy Brigewater?

On offense, Bridgewater and the Broncos need to do what they’ve done the first two weeks.

In his first two starts for Denver, Bridgewater has thrown for 592 yards, four touchdowns and no picks. That last number is the most crucial.

Bridgewater is the fourth player in NFL history to open a season with two touchdowns, zero interceptions, 75%+completion (minimum 12 attempts) in each of the first two games. Bridgewater joins Drew Brees (2018), Aaron Rodgers (2015) and Jeff George (1994) in that distinction.

If that wasn’t enough, no quarterback in the NFL has attempted more throws over 20 yards this season than Bridgewater.

Those could factor in the NFL betting strategy for Sunday’s game, especially when it comes to prop bets for Bridgewater.

One other offensive player to keep an eye on is Courtland Sutton. The Denver receiver just had career highs for receptions (nine) and yards (159) against the Jaguars. On the heels of his ACL injury last season, this could be just the start for Sutton.

Broncos running game paves the way

As for the running game, Fangio told the Denver media on Monday that teams have gone to “extreme measures” to stop the Broncos offense from rushing the ball. Based on the results, that hasn’t been effective.

In those two games, Denver has rushed for 261 yards for an average of 130.5. That is fifth-best in the NFL. The offense also ranks 12th for rushing yards per play. What has made the offense fun to watch is Bridgewater has made the defense pay with play-action passes. See the stat above.

If Denver is able to run the ball that well again on Sunday, it sets up Bridgewater and the offense to have another strong game.

Two games does not a season make. If the Broncos win on Sunday and improve to 3-0, that remains the case.

But a 3-0 start may help this team find the cure to the ailment of the last five seasons.

If you’re planning on going to Sunday’s game, here’s what you need to know in terms fan safety rules and stadium protocol.

Photo by AP / Gary McCullough
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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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