The Denver Broncos are back at home for the second consecutive week following a primetime win on Sunday Night Football against the Minnesota Vikings. Now, they will face the Cleveland Browns. Denver is the hottest team in the NFL today, looking for their fifth consecutive win.
Cleveland lost their starting quarterback Deshaun Watson due to a shoulder injury, and rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson is starting for them. Despite Thompson-Robinson being a rookie quarterback, Cleveland won a game with him starting in week 11 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Their defense is a top-tier unit within the league.
If the Broncos beat Cleveland on Sunday, they will have their first five-game win streak since 2015.
With that being said, let's take a look at the main keys for the Denver Broncos to win their fifth consecutive game on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns ...
1. Run defense:
The Cleveland Browns have the third-best run game in the NFL statistically. To be specific, they have an average of 142.7 rushing yards per game. The Denver Broncos have been awful against the run, allowing an average of 138 yards per game just to running backs. Now regarding rushing stats vs quarterbacks, Denver has allowed an average of 18 yards per game. Denver ranks 32nd in rushing yards per game, in other words, the worst in the NFL.
Stopping the run has been a weekly key for the Broncos to win their respective game in my keys articles, and until it improves, I will not remove it. I am not saying that the Broncos' defense is bad, I am just saying that the run defense must improve, and against these types of teams such as Cleveland, that their run offense is better than the passing offense, you must slow the run in order for them to throw the football. If you want to win this game, you cannot let the opposing team control the game clock by running the ball well.
2. Keep forcing turnovers:
The Broncos defense has been very good in the past few games in a key area: forcing turnovers. To be specific, they had one against the Green Bay Packers, five against the Kansas City Chiefs, four against the Buffalo Bills, and three against the Minnesota Vikings, respectively. Winning the turnover battle has been very important for Denver, as the defense puts the offense in a good position to score points. Obviously, they need more touchdowns and fewer field goals, but defensive turnovers have been huge.
Against a rookie quarterback, the Broncos must take advantage. I am not saying that Browns' Dorian Thompson-Robinson is a bad quarterback, I am just saying that sometimes is easier for defenses to force turnovers on rookie quarterbacks than on veteran guys. So once again, Vance Joseph's unit must continue to force turnovers.
3. Broncos OL vs Browns DL:
The Broncos' offensive line has been way better in 2023 than it was last season, obviously, big free-agent signings including Ben Powers and Mike McGlinchey were made, but on Sunday it will be a tough battle against the NFL sack leader in Myles Garrett and company.
Garrett has 13.0 sacks so far in the season, and Cleveland's defense has been one of the best. Good protection on Russell Wilson by the offensive line will be key for the offensive success against the Browns on Sunday. The Browns not only have Myles Garrett in their front seven, but they also have the 3x Pro Bowler in Za'Darius Smith, who has 2.5 sacks, on the other side of the edge. Their four defensive linemen Dalvin Tomlinson, Jordan Elliott, Shelby Harris, and Maurice Hurst have a combined total of 7.5 sacks in the season.
Once again, Russell Wilson will need time to make throws, so the offensive line will be a huge factor in order for Denver to win their fifth straight game.
With a win, the Denver Broncos can move up in the AFC Playoff picture.