The Denver Broncos go into Week 13 sitting in 3rd place in the AFC West with dwindling chances of a sixth consecutive Division title. The Oakland Raiders are in control of the division and the Chiefs are right behind them and hold any tiebreaker with their 3-0 record in the AFC West. December is “Go Time” for teams like Denver, who have been perpetual playoff participants in recent history. The Broncos are still in the hunt for a postseason berth, but they know they’ll have to earn it. Denver Linebacker Brandon Marshall broke this week’s game in Jacksonville down like this:
“It is a must-win. It’s a tight race, and I think we fell behind a little bit with our loss Sunday, but we’ve still got everything in front of us. If we just do what we have to do, win our games, we’ll be fine.”
Meanwhile, the Jaguars are 2-9 and in the middle of a culture change. They have an 0-4 record at EverBank Field this year and head coach Gus Bradley would agree with Brandon Marshall on the relevance of this contest:
“It’s very important every time you play a game, but when you’re at home in front of your fans it makes it that much more important. We haven’t been home but once in the last five weeks. I think the guys enjoy that part of it, being in front of our crowd.”
If this is the motivation for each team, the Broncos have already their opponent. Denver knows that it needs to come on strong to finish well and their locker room has a strong leadership presence. The Jaguars as I said, are in the midst of a rebuild after Shad Khan purchased the team five years ago. The recent additions of former Broncos, DE Malik Jackson and TE Julius Thomas have helped turn around the Jaguars locker room and instill the championship contender mindsight and work ethic to achieve that goal, but they aren’t there yet. Especially if they are just trying to get a win at Home. BRONCO NOTES The Broncos are 4-5 (.444) all-time against the Jags and 1-3 on the road, with Jacksonville representing one of only eight NFL teams they have a losing record against. However, they are 3-2 on the road this season. Denver has won an NFL-best 28 consecutive games when winning the turnover battle and have totaled a league-high 93 points off turnovers (35.0% of their overall point total).
- QB TREVOR SIEMIAN’s seven wins are tied for the 3rd-most by a Bronco Quarterback in his first 10 starts with the team. Unfortunately, he won’t be starting this week due to a foot injury.
- Rookie QB PAXTON LYNCH will make his second career start against the Jaguars. The Broncos 1st-round pick has thrown for 393 yards, two Touchdowns and one Interception with a 62.7% completion rate. The Broncos fell short in Lynch’s first start against Atlanta in Week 5, losing 23-16.
- RB DEVONTAE BOOKER is on pace to become the 13th rookie in franchise history to lead the team in rushing. The Rookie has 189 scrimmage yards (94.5 per game) in past the 2 games. Booker is currently 3rd among NFL rookies with 475 rushing yards.
- WR EMMANUEL SANDERS had 162 receiving yards with a Touchdown last week vs. Kansas City and ranks 6th in the AFC with 830 receiving yards. His next catch will be the 400th for his career.
- Since 2012, WR DEMARYIUS THOMAS ranks 2nd in the NFL with 462 catches and tied for 3rd with 46 Touchdowns. Demaryius needs 100 receiving yards to tie Calvin Johnson and Julio Jones (34) for the most 100-yard receiving games in the League since 2011.
- WR JORDAN TAYLOR is looking for his 3rd consecutive game with a Touchdown
- The DENVER DEFENSE had 6 sacks last week. They lead the NFL in Sacks (35) and Quarterbacks hits (89) through 12 weeks this season. The Bronco ‘D’ has scored nine TDs (6 Interception returns and 3 Fumble returns) since the start of the 2015 season (inclding playoffs) to rank 2nd in the NFL during that span.
- Pro Football Focus says OLBs Von Miller, Shaquil Barrett, DeMarcus Ware, and Shane Ray are all among the top 17 of 57 3-4 OLBs this year.
- OLB VON MILLER needs one Sack to tie Rulon Jones (73.5) for 4th on the team’s all-time list, ands 2.5 to tie Barney Chavous (75.) for 3rd place. Miller leads the NFL with 12.5 Sacks and is one of just six players in NFL history (since 1982) with five double-digit Sack seasons in their first six years in the league.
- The VONSTER tied career-highs last week with 10 Tackles and 3 Sacks. In his last 13 games, has 17.5 Sacks, 14 Tackles For Loss, 3 Forced Fumbles and an Interception.
- LB DeMARCUS WARE is 2nd among active players with 137.5 Sacks. The 9-Time Pro Bowler needs one Quarterback takedown to pass Richard Dent and John Randle for 8th place on the NFL’s all-time Sack list and three to pass Julius Peppers for 6th.
- CB CHRIS HARRIS JR. needs an Interception to become the 7th player to record multiple Interceptions in each of the last six seasons. In the last meeting between these teams, Chris had a team-high 11 Tackles.
- S T.J. WARD has had a hand in six takeaways this season to tie for 3rd in the NFL and 1st among Safeties through Week 12.
JAGUAR NOTES The Jaguars have lost their last five games at EverBank Field with their most recent victory coming over the Colts, last December. After a winning 2 of theoir first five games, the Jags have lost six in a row.
- QB BLAKE BORTLES threw 2 Touchdown passes and ran for a career-high 81 yards last week. He is aiming for a 6th consecutive game with 2 or more TD passes. Bortles has thrown 8 Interceptions when under duress in 2016 and the Broncos’ specialize in tormenting QB’s, so watch out for turnovers.
- RB CHRIS IVORY and WR ALLEN HURNS each had a Touchdown last week, but neither will play this Sunday.
- RB T.J. YELDON is one of six AFC Running Backs with 1,000 or more rushing yards (1,058) and 475+ receiving yards (499) since 2015.
- WR ALLEN ROBINSON has 4 Touchdown catches in his last 4 Home games and 20 since 2015, tied for 2nd in NFL.
- WR MARQISE LEE aims for his 3rd consecutive game with a Touchdpwn catch.
- Rookie DE YANNICK NGAKOUE is looking for a Sack in his 3rd consecutive game. He leads all rookies with 6 Sacks and is one of 2 players in the NFL with 6+ Sacks, 3+ Forced Fumbles and an INT this year (Khalil Mack).
- DT MALIK JACKSON has 3 Sacks in the last 2 games.
- LB PAUL POSLUSZNY had a 59-yard ‘Pick-Six’ in the last meeting. He has 24 tackles in the past 3 games and 3 Tackles For Loss in the last two.
- CB PRINCE AMUKAMARA has allowed a mere 21 yards per game on four or less passes thrown his way over his last five outings.This week, the 6th year Corner will face the tandem of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, who are averaging 9.7 and 8.5 targets per game. This ought to be one of the best matchyps to watchs.
- CB JALEN RAMSEY has recorded 16 defensive stops, tied for 3rd-most among cornerbacks.
The Jaguars last winning season came in 2010, and Sunday’s loss to the Bills in Buffalo secured a 4th sub-.500 season in a row with Gus Bradley as head coach. Due to the Quarterback change, the oddsmakers have reduced the Broncos edge from 5 to 3.5 points and an Over/Under of 40. Go Broncos! – Kaptain Kirk Follow me on Twitter Kaptain Kirk on Facebook