On scale of 1-to-Must Win, how desperate is Denver on Thursday night?


Parker Gabriel, Broncos beat writer

Short week, down key players, coming off a loss Sunday to Las Vegas, it does feel like there’s some urgency for the Broncos this week. Especially considering Denver’s already lost twice on the road, holding serve at home becomes all the more important. The route to playoff contention includes winning, if not all, then the vast majority of games at Empower Field. There’s potential for a mini re-set after this game, with 11 days between Thursday night and an Oct. 17 Monday night game against the Chargers. But going into it on a two-game skid would make the long wait all the more painful. Here’s the other thing weighing on the must-win scale: That closing run of six games to the regular season looms large. The margin for error only gets smaller with each passing week.

Kyle Newman, Broncos beat writer

The Colts’ one win was impressive — an upset victory at home against K.C. But Indianapolis has looked middling or bad in their other performances. And despite that K.C. misstep at Lucas Oil Stadium, the Chiefs remain vaunted, and on the Broncos’ schedule twice in the back half. Plus, there’s still another matchup to come against Las Vegas and two against the Chargers, who are talented even if they are banged up. Add all that up, plus December road tests in Baltimore and Los Angeles against the Rams, and the margin for error is thin. If the Broncos are a playoff team, a Thursday Night Football home game against a Colts team that’s last in points per game (14.3) is a must-win. There’s also the fact that Jonathan Taylor is banged up with an ankle injury and hasn’t practiced this week. If he doesn’t go, there’s no reason Denver can’t/shouldn’t/absolutely needs to win.


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