MILE HIGH MONDAY

Playoffs are still within reach for Broncos after loss in Houston

Dec 4, 2023, 6:20 AM | Updated: 12:21 pm

The Denver Broncos winning streak is over. Five in a row was great, but they couldn’t make it six as they lost on the road to the Houston Texans in Week 13 by a score of 22-17.

I like when the Broncos fight hard, and they did have moments in the game against the Texans when that fight was evident. However, it came too late, and the team could not climb out of the hole they dug over the first three quarters.

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep Wrangler TJ! The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.

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Playoffs Now Less Likely

Had the Broncos beaten the Texans, their playoff hopes would be around 65 percent likely. Now, with the loss, the Broncos have about a 20 percent chance of making the playoffs. The Texans had the same record (6-5) as the Broncos when the game started, and they are striving for a wild card spot as well. With the loss, the Broncos are now 3-5 against AFC opponents this year, which further hurts their playoff chances.

The Broncos are now behind the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts and Texans as those four teams have 7-5 records. Denver is not going to win the AFC West, but had they beaten the Texans they could have kept within range of the Kansas City Chiefs. While the Chiefs are on track to win the division for the eighth year in a row, the Broncos must win – and likely get help – the rest of the way.

Of their remaining five games, the Broncos only have one upcoming opponent with a winning record (Detroit Lions at 9-3). Even the Lions are beatable, so there’s a chance the Broncos could have another five-game winning streak here at the end of the 2023 season. That would be great if they could do that because 10 wins (lose one more game and you could at best hit double digits) is no guarantee to make the postseason. If the Broncos win them all, an 11-win total would likely do the trick.

I don’t see any team on the remaining schedule that would be impossible to beat. That’s why I think winning 11 games is possible. Perhaps they drop a game or two before the end of the year, but they should continue to be in the playoff talk at least over the next few weeks.

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Not Wilson’s Best Day

Russell Wilson did not have a good day at the office. His three interceptions were not the only reasons they lost the game, but they obviously did not help. Wilson kept the faith, and he kept fighting until the end, but his prior play (and final play) cost the team any chance at winning.

I give Wilson a lot of credit because he is tough. The Broncos offensive line had a bad day, and Wilson was under duress, sacked, or hit on most of his dropbacks in Week 13. He didn’t have much time to throw, but I do believe the plan in place for this game was correct. You can attack the Texans’ secondary, and Denver clearly wanted to do that. However, Wilson could not make the throws early on – and some of the throws he did make were dropped.

We’ve been waiting for Sean Payton to open things up for Wilson. He’s treating him like a rookie quarterback with a simplified game plan, route combinations, and play calls. The Broncos run the ball more than most teams, and it likely comes from the belief that Wilson and the passing game cannot lead the way. I felt this was the week to unleash Wilson, but the execution of this game plan was terrible. Again, Wilson isn’t the only one to blame, but he missed wide open receivers, and some of his passes were just off the mark. The constant pressure did not help to be sure.

To get back on the winning track, Wilson needs to play better. Teams are going to stack the line and stuff Javonte Williams. He’s not what he used to be as evidenced by his constant 3.5 yards per carry. Wilson can run more, but he’s had over 20 carries in the last two weeks combined – that’s something his body cannot hold up to at his age. To win more, Wilson must pass more – and pass better.

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He Was Open…A Lot

We almost saw a breakout game from Jerry Jeudy. Wilson targeted him four times, and Jeudy came down with three catches for 51 yards. One play, a 41-yard reception, made up most of that total, but there would be more there if only Jeudy had been seen.

Jeudy is a great route runner, but he doesn’t produce because he wastes time getting open. He’ll dance at the start of his route, get open eventually, but Wilson is already off him because of Jeudy’s lack of timing. That wasn’t the case against the Texans. As aforementioned, Wilson missed a wide-open player for a big play and that player was Jeudy. It may not have been a touchdown, but if Wilson had seen him and thrown him the ball then Jeudy could have finished with more than 100 yards receiving.

The Broncos need to throw the ball more. It’s going to help them if they fall behind, but most importantly it’s going to build chemistry with other players. His chemistry with Courtland Sutton is outstanding, but Wilson’s chemistry with Jeudy is almost non-existent. If Wilson was throwing more – and more to Jeudy – then perhaps that connection would strengthen as the team pushes for the postseason and a Wild Card berth.

To win through the air, the Broncos need a player like Jeudy to step up. I feel he did against the Texans, but he didn’t produce as much as he could have because of Wilson’s shortcomings.

***

GTA6 Gonna Break the Internet

We are almost to the next installment of the “Grand Theft Auto” franchise from Rockstar Games! It has been 10 years since we’ve had a new GTA game, with the release of the fantastic/legendary GTA5 back in 2013. That was nearly a perfect game, and GTA5 still enjoys a healthy number of updates for players who still count in the millions on GTA online.

It’s a great game, but how is Rockstar going to top that? Well, from the leaks we’ve seen about GTA6 you will see a massive play area that is about three or four times larger than the open world we all enjoy exploring in GTA5. It’s more than just the map and the size of the play area, gamers want a smooth experience, a great story, and great controls to continue the salacious fun of the franchise.

Well, the wait is finally over – kind of. On Tuesday, December 5 at 9am Easter Time we’ll get the first trailer for GTA6. If it’s like Red Dead Redemption 2 (another Rockstar epic), then the trailer won’t show us gamers much. It’s likely to be short, and it’s likely to tease what we might see as the main storyline. Rumors are spreading we’ll get a “Bonnie and Clyde” story to play through. As someone who has played GTA since the Playstation 2 days, I’m certainly looking forward to this latest installment.

Are you excited for GTA6? Hit me up on social networking and let me know!

Mile High Monday

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