The Broncos face off against the Titans with two instant disadvantages. Von Miller broke hearts with a potentially season-ending injury. The linebacker dislocated his peroneal tendon during the final play of last Tuesday’s practice. His status for the remainder of the season is currently unknown.
A couple of days later, news of Courtland Sutton’s injury surfaced. Sutton’s game status is currently up in the air as he did not participate in practice on Friday. Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur announced that in the event that the wide receiver can’t play on Monday, rookie Jerry Jeudy will see an instant spike in snaps.
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Regardless of the holes already present in Denver’s team, they are ready. Phillip Lindsay and Melvin Gordan need to be prepared in case Drew Lock struggles at the beginning and needs to resort to the run game. After a few drives, the second-year quarterback should be ready to go.
The retirement of Tennessee’s defensive coordinator, Dean Pees, could have a large impact on this game as well. The Titans’ defense rapidly improved under his leadership and the team finished 12th in the league in points sacrificed. This is one facet of the game that Denver should use to its advantage.
In terms of defense, the loss of Von Miller hurts. This puts a lot of pressure on linebackers Alexander Johnson and Josey Jewell. Their performances will directly impact the effectiveness of Tennessee’s run game. The recent addition of Titan’s defensive tackle Jurrell Casey to the Broncos will certainly boost their confidence going into this game as well. The long game is a different story. The Broncos should have no issue controlling the receiving end because Tennessee’s strength is not in their wide receivers.
This first game won’t be pretty, but the Broncos are in the driver’s seat. The Titans are in for a long night as they battle for the opening victory.