Thu, 08 Dec 2022

Know Your Foe: Denver Broncos

Carolina Panthers
23 Nov 2022, 20:44 GMT+10

Augusta Stone

CHARLOTTE - The Panthers are back in action at home this week, looking to bounce back from a stagnant offensive showing in last week's loss at Baltimore.

This Sunday, Russell Wilson and the Broncos (3-7) come to Charlotte for a 1 p.m. kickoff at Bank of America Stadium.

Denver leads the all-time series 6-1, with Carolina's only win in the matchup's history coming at home in 2008. The Panthers lost Super Bowl 50 to the Broncos in 2016 and dropped their last meeting in Denver in 2020.

Here's what to know about the Broncos:

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Despite having nine-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion Wilson leading the offense, the Broncos haven't been able to produce points.

Denver stands at the bottom of the league averaging 14.7 points per game, and its highest scoring output this year was just 23 in a Week 4 loss to the Raiders. Wilson is on pace for the least accurate season of his career, completing 59.5 percent of his passes and averaging 247.4 pass yards per game with seven passing touchdowns and five interceptions. Wilson's Broncos are tied with the Steelers for a league-low seven passing touchdowns all year. He's also been sacked 32 times this season.

The Broncos put up 326.4 yards per game on average, 21st in the league, mainly in the passing game, averaging 223.8 yards through the air.

Denver has also struggled to convert on third down, converting 28.2 percent (40-of-142) of its third-down attempts this season, 31st in the league ahead of only Carolina (28 percent on 37-of-132 attempts).

Courtland Sutton is the Broncos' leading receiver and averages 61.3 yards per game. He has caught 46 passes for 613 yards with just one touchdown this season. He put up 80 yards on five catches in the Broncos' loss to the Raiders last week.

Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy didn't play in the Broncos' last game against Las Vegas with an ankle injury and is "day-to-day" with his recovery. Denver head coach Nathaniel Hackett said he hopes to get Jeudy back for the Carolina game, as Jeudy is the Broncos' second-leading receiver with 49.9 yards per game, hauling in 30 catches for 449 yards and three touchdowns in nine games.

DENVER COMING OFF ANOTHER CLOSE LOSS, WAIVED MELVIN GORDON

The Broncos suffered their sixth one-possession loss last week, this time to the ailing Raiders in overtime.

Denver's defense kept the 22-16 contest close, but the Broncos saw familiar problems pop up throughout the game and eventually lost on a game-winning score from Las Vegas' Davante Adams.

The Broncos switched up play-callers for their Week 11 matchup, going with passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak, but saw much of the same execution, failing to convert on third down (3-of-12) and putting up another low-scoring effort.

Denver has lost six of its last seven games and hasn't scored more than 21 points since Week 5.

The Broncos decided they had seen enough from running back Melvin Gordon III, waiving their leader in carries (90) and rush yards (318) after a fifth lost fumble. His latest drop came at the 2-yard line just before halftime, his second lost fumble within 2 yards of the goal line this year.

Latavius Murray, averaging 3.3 yards per attempt with 209 total yards on 63 carries, is set to take over in the backfield, with former Colts running back Marlon Mack expected to back up in the wake of Chase Edmonds' high ankle sprain. Mack hasn't recorded a rushing attempt in 2022.

COMPETITIVE DEFENSE KEEPS GAMES TIGHT

The Broncos' defense has kept games close while their offense struggled, boasting the league's third-best scoring defense. Denver has allowed its opponents an average of 17.1 points per game, stifling opposing pass games at a high level.

The Broncos allow a league-low 9.4 yards per catch and a third-best 186.8 pass yards per game with a strong secondary led by cornerbacks Pat Surtain II, K'Waun Williams, and Damarri Mathis.

Denver is looking to improve up front, totaling just two sacks through its last two games after trading linebacker Bradley Chubb to the Dolphins. Chubb was tied with defensive end Dre'Mont Jones for the team-high with 5.5 sacks this season before he was traded to Miami.

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