The Denver Broncos opened this season hoping that new stability at the quarterback position would help them rebound from a traumatic 5-11 record in 2017. General Manger John Elway elected to go with Case Keenum to provide that stability; hoping that Keenum would be able to replicate some of the success he enjoyed in his previous season with the Minnesota Vikings. As Los Angeles Rams fans already know, Keenum is a gritty little quarterback who lacks arm strength, but can move decently and occasionally make some things happen. So far though, Keenum is far from a pace to match his 2017 stat line and has thrown two more interceptions than touchdowns for Denver.
The Broncos started out the season with two close wins over Oakland and Seattle, but have since fallen to a record of 2-3 after three straight losses. The first couple of losses were acceptable: at the Baltimore Ravens and at home against the Kansas City Chiefs in a game they could have won. However, last week’s blowout loss to the New York Jets was more alarming as the Jets were able to rush for a whopping 323 yards on the Broncos’ defense. Denver’s defense certainly isn’t without talent up front, but the proof is in the performance.
This week, the Rams will be likely to test Denver’s defense early and often with RB Todd Gurley and some playaction. When the Broncos have the ball, they will look to return the favor though. Denver has a very capable pair of rookie running backs in Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman that will look to replicate the success that the Seattle Seahawks had on the ground against the Rams last Sunday. The Broncos will likely be without right tackle Jared Veldheer. Left tackle Garett Bolles is dinged up but should be able to play.
Keenum also has a solid stable of receivers in Emmanuel Sanders, Demaryius Thomas, and rookies Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton. Saunders has been the most productive, snatching 33 receptions for 386 yards so far.
If Denver’s offense generates a rhythm on the ground, they could become a handful.
On defense, the Broncos are nowhere near previous ‘No Fly Zone’ levels, but still have plenty of talent, including: linebackers Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, and Todd Davis, nose tackle Domata Peko, and defensive backs Chris Harris and former-Ram Darian Stewart. Adam “PacMan” Jones will likely be sidelined due to injury this week as the Broncos will look to find some way to handle the Rams triple threat of Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp at wide receiver assuming the latter two are upgraded on the injury report after suffering concussions in Week 5.
At the end of the day, the Broncos’ and Head Coach Vance Joseph’s backs are against the wall at Mile High. It’s going to be snowing, so this isn’t a game to sleep on at all. If the Rams are able to put the Broncos away nice and clean on the road, then they appear even more dominant than previously suspected. But this may be another delightfully stressful slugfest not so dissimilar to last week’s victory at Puget Sound.