BRONCOS

Sean Payton stresses importance of ending the season with a win

Jan 3, 2024, 2:42 PM | Updated: 2:45 pm

The Denver Broncos won’t play a meaningful football game until next September but that’s not the way Sean Payton sees it.

The first-year head coach of the Broncos shared with the media on Wednesday his message of ending the season with a winning record and most importantly on a positive note.

“I think getting to nine wins is important and I think it’s important for our players to understand that heading into next season there are a ton of these peaks and valleys during any NFL season,” Payton said. “We’ve had our fair share, but I think, you know, finishing strong is important.”

While the Broncos are eliminated from making the playoffs, the game will actually count, unlike the preseason atmosphere it may mock. And for Denver, it’s a chance to finish over .500 for the first time since a nine-win 2016 season. The four-win year-over-year jump would be the biggest improvement from one season to the next since 2011 into 2012 when the orange and blue swamped out Tim Tebow for Peyton Manning at quarterback and reached the playoffs.

Denver’s Week 18 contest is also of meaning—playing the long-time rival Raiders, who have won seven-straight games in the series. Going above .500 while snapping both AFC West streaks against Kansas City and Las Vegas is a real sign of positive moment for the Broncos. Plus on a silly note, a win in Vegas to end the season is something only one other team will be able to claim—this season’s Super Bowl winners.

In Week 18 there are a number of players chasing statistics as well, like Jonathon Cooper, who is on the verge of a 10-sack season. Wil Lutz could set a franchise mark for field goals made, he’s two kicks away from tying it. Unlike many teams who are resting significant portions of their team come this weekend, Payton has hinted that Denver is poised to play most of their group besides Russell Wilson of course.

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