The Broncos are back at home for their week eleven matchup. It will be Denver's third Primetime game of the season, but their first one at home (week 6 at Chiefs, week 10 at Bills), against the Minnesota Vikings. Both, the Broncos and Vikings are on a big winning streak ... Denver has won three consecutive games (vs Packers, vs Chiefs, and at Bills). Minnesota has won five consecutive games (at Bears, vs 49ers, at Packers, at Falcons, vs Saints).
No one thought that the Broncos would beat the Chiefs and Bills in consecutive games, no one thought that the Vikings would win without Kirk Cousins, no one thought that Joshua Dobbs would enter and win his first game as a Viking without knowing the playbook and his teammates' names due to a Jaren Hall injury, and then beat the Saints in his first start ...
Both teams are on a hot winning streak, so here is how the Broncos could end Josh Dobbs' "Cinderella's Story", and defeat the Vikings in Sunday Night Football ...
1. Avoid dumb offensive penalties:
The offensive line play will be key here, not only to help the running game, but for pass protection when needed. Minnesota has the NFL sack leader in Danielle Hunter ...
To be specific, the Broncos have had seven pre-snap penalties just in the past three games ...
- OT Mike McGlinchey - 2 false starts
- 2 Illegal Formations
- FB Michael Burton - 1 false start
- WR Courtland Sutton - 1 false start
- OT Garrett Bolles - 1 false start
Against these good teams, you cannot have these mistakes, you have to take advantage from every single drive in order to win.
2. Keep running the ball and control the game clock:
The Denver Broncos have dominated the time of possession in the past two games against Kansas City and Buffalo. To be specific, against the Chiefs, it was Broncos 33:47 - 26:13, and against the Bills, it was Broncos 37:21 - 22:39. Why I am mentioning this, well, by running the ball well, you can have control of the game, by eating the game clock. The thing is that, if you have dumb pre-snap penalties, you need longer runs or passes to move the chains, which has blown some drives for the Broncos.
Denver has had over 100 rushing attempts in the past three games, to be specific, 103, for 420 yards, which is 4.08 yards per carry on average. Javonte Williams has had 63 out of those carries, for 246 yards (3.90 yards/carry).
Against running backs, the Vikings have allowed 751 yards in 210 carries (3.58 yards/carry), and 4 rushing touchdowns. Under 50 rushing yards to RBs in three out of the last four games. Minnesota is the 8th-best defense against running backs.
The offensive line play will be key here, not only to help the running game but for pass protection when needed. Minnesota has the NFL sack leader in Danielle Hunter ... if the Vikings' defense gets quickly to the running back, screen plays will be KEY.
3. Stop and slow the run:
Yes, the Vikings are one of the worst teams in rushing. To be specific, they are the third worst with 85.7 rushing yards per game. Cam Akers is out for the season, Alexander Mattison will likely not play due to a concussion, but Denver is the worst defense against the run, allowing 158.3 yards per game on average.
Despite stopping Josh Allen's passing game, the Broncos defense allowed some big plays by James Cook and former Bronco Latavious Murray. Cook had 109 yards, and Murray 68. You cannot allow these big runs. The Vikings backfield (if Mattison does not play), will feature Ty Chandler, and Kene Nwangwu, quarterback Josh Dobbs extends plays a lot, and then scrambles.
Denver's defense was solid against Josh Allen scrambles, but was awful against running backs.
4. Keep forcing defensive turnovers:
In their three consecutive wins, the Denver Broncos have ten defensive turnovers (1 against Green Bay, 5 against Kansas City, and 4 against Buffalo).
Vikings quarterback Josh Dobbs had not thrown an interception since he joined the team ahead of week 9, but has fumbled the ball three times (lost two). The Broncos must take advantage of Dobbs fumbling the football. Pressure will be key for him to throw an interception, or fumble the ball. The thing is that the Broncos had zero sacks against the Bills, but the Vikings offensive line has allowed 23 sacks (2.3 on average per game), the 12th-worst in the league.
What are your keys for the Broncos to beat the Vikings in Sunday Night?
This game will be a very important one for the Broncos, especially for their Playoff hopes, as two AFC teams lost their starting quarterback for the remainder of the season (The Bengals lost Joe Burrow with a wrist injury and the Browns lost Deshaun Watson with a shoulder injury), so a win over the Minnesota Vikings would be HUGE for the Denver Broncos going forward.