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Woody Paige: If Broncos don't beat Jets, there's a decent chance they lose out

Posted: 12:20 PM, Dec 08, 2017
Updated: 2017-12-08 19:20:25Z

Nobody has stated that no Broncos team in franchise history has lost 13 games in one season.

If the Broncos can’t figure out a way to win against the Jets on Sunday, they could reach that dubious achievement.

There are no sure things in the final four.

Jets quarterback Josh McCown has been named the AFC offensive player of the week after throwing for 331 yards in the 38-31 victory over the Chiefs.

The Broncos, who must play in Indianapolis on Thursday night, haven’t won a game on the road this year.

The game on Christmas Eve in Washington won’t be stress-free, and the final at home on New Year’s Eve against the Chiefs will be a serious struggle. The Broncos could be on the Eve of Destruction.

It’s conceivable that the Broncos could finish with 12 consecutive losses, a miserable marring mark that has never occurred in a season since the Broncos were originated in 1960.

The Broncos have compiled a 4-12 record since Dec. 11, 2016. They haven’t won a game away from Denver since Dec. 4 of last year and have scored 24 points or more only three times since then.

How could it be that the Broncos haven’t lost 13 games before?  Even in the 1960s and the first two years of the ‘70s, the Broncos never had a winning season and ended up with 2, 3 or 4 victories eight times. But, back then, they played 14-game schedules. Since the NFL added two more games in 1978, the season after the Broncos won a record 14 regular-season and postseason games, the team has had double-digit losing seasons only twice (1990, 11, and 2010, 12). The Broncos certainly have a chance to duplicate one of those atrocious years.

That defeat feat won’t reflect well on Vance Joseph’s resume as a head coach. He would just be another Frank Filchock, Jack Faulkner, Mac Speedie, Lou Saban or Josh McDaniels – who coached the Broncos to fewer than five victories in seasons past.

And Joseph may be the first to ever drop 13 in his first season in Denver. It’s particularly pathetic no matter how this season concludes because Joseph took over a winning team (9-7) and said he was not rebuilding, but retooling. You can take a hammer and a screwdriver to 2017.

The Broncos’ offense, which not long ago set league records for points and touchdowns, has been on a record run in the opposite direction with three quarterbacks, two coordinators, four tight ends, three running backs, six wide receivers, 10 offensive linemen and a partridge in a pear tree.

The Cowboys game, with 42 points, was, in retrospect, an aberration.

In the other 11 games, the Broncos scored zero points in 20 quarters.

They were shut out in four quarters in Los Angeles for the first time since 1992. In Oakland, the Broncos didn’t score a point in the first three quarters.  They scored a total of 33 points in three division games on the road.

In their past eight games the Broncos have been ahead on the scoreboard for 11 minutes out of 480 minutes. Last week they led 3-2, and had a 7-6 advantage briefly against the Bengals and a 3-0 lead in Buffalo for a short while.

Consider this: During the losing streak over two months, the Broncos have been outscored 225-108 points. Add in the Bills game (a setback) and the Raiders game in Denver (a victory), the Broncos have scored 140 and given up 256. In those eight straight, the Broncos have averaged exactly 14 points. It wouldn’t have been that high if they didn’t score garbage fourth-quarter points (28) in Philadelphia and Oakland.

During the changes from Trevor Siemian to Brock Osweiler to Paxton Lynch back to Siemian, the quarterbacks have thrown seven touchdowns and 12 interceptions, and lost two of five fumbles.

Honestly, the Broncos should get rid of all three quarterbacks before next season – and keep Chad Kelly, only because we haven’t seen him once in the exhibition games or the regular season. Who knows if he can play? The Broncos must draft one quarterback and sign or trade for a veteran.

They probably won’t bring back two running backs, two wide receivers, two tight ends and four offensive linemen. And five additional offensive coaches are in trouble.

And Joseph is coaching for his future. If he loses 12 or 13, he doesn’t deserve to return.

The Broncos have a chance to lose to both New York teams (with a total of seven victories) and will finish last in the AFC West.

John Elway said this week he has been embarrassed by the Broncos and will do everything he can to fix the franchise.

This is not a retooling.

Elway needs a new toolbox.