By Abraham Gutierrez
A pair of teams sitting at the cellar of their respective divisions will collide in Week 13 of the 2017 NFL season, as the Denver Broncos pay a visit to the Miami Dolphins. Hard Rock Stadium will host the 19th meeting between these franchises, scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET.
Miami comes in losers of five straight, while Denver has dropped seven consecutive ballgames. The Dolphins lead the overall head-to-head series, 11-6-1, but have come up empty in their past two contests against the Broncos. The last time they met dates back to the 2014 NFL season, when then-quarterback Peyton Manning had a scintillating performance to lead Denver to a thrilling, 39-36 victory over Ryan Tannehill and the Fins in the Mile High City. Tim Tebow and the Broncos needed overtime to get passed the Fins in their most recent visit to South Florida, prevailing by a final score of 18-15 with Matt Moore as the starter for the home team.
Broncos 2017 NFL Season Record: 3-8-0
Things have gotten off to a very rough start for former Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph in his first year as Broncos head coach. After winning the first two games of the 2017 NFL campaign in impressive fashion, Denver has dropped eight of its last nine contests and seven in a row.
Joseph & Co. will be looking for the first road-win of the season at the expense of his former employer. The Broncos are currently 0-5 on the road, 3-3 at home, 2-3 against divisional foes and 2-6 when facing intraconference foes.
Broncos on Offense
Former Broncos signal-caller Bill Musgrave is the Broncos’ interim offensive coordinator, as he enters his 20th season as an NFL coach. After helping four different quarterbacks to Pro Bowl seasons (Derek Carr, Matt Ryan, Michael Vick and Steve Beuerlein), Musgrave has the tall task of trying to make some sense out of the current quarterback debacle in Denver.
Through 11 games, the Broncos offense ranks 26th in points per game (17.9), 22nd in total yards (319.7), 19th in passing yards (211.7) and 16th in rushing yards per contest (108).
Broncos on Defense
On the opposite side of the rock, there’s much more optimism, but there have been some recent blowouts that are a bit alarming. In his 14th season in the league, Joe Woods has done a commendable job considering this is his first year as a defensive coordinator.
The former defensive backs coach is in charge of a defensive unit that’s currently ranked third in the NFL in total yards (289.1) and fourth in both passing yards (201.9) and rushing yards per game (87.2). However, as stated above, the Broncos have been on the wrong end of a few blowouts this season, and thus, they come into Week 13 ranked 27th in the league in points per game surrendered (25.5).
Broncos Players to Watch: Trevor Siemian, Von Miller
Due to an ankle injury to Paxton Lynch in last week’s loss to the Oakland Raiders, Trevor Siemian will again start under center for the Broncos this week. The former seventh-round pick out of Northwestern lost the starting job earlier after completing 163-of-268 pass attempts for 1818 yards, 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions for a passer-rating of 79.2. Siemian also possesses the ability to scramble, having rushed for 98 yards on 25 carries and a score (5 fumbles, 2 lost).
On the defensive side of the pigskin, the Broncos player to watch is always perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate, Von Miller. In his seventh season out of Texas A&M, the 5-time Pro Bowler leads the team with 8.5 sacks to go along with 40 tackles and a forced fumble. Rest assured, Miller will be trying to create havoc in Miami’s backfield by exploiting the Dolphins’ suspect offensive line.
Despite being at home, the Fins will have to defy the NFL Week 13 odds. According to opening NFL point spreads, the Denver Broncos (-1) come in as one-point favorites against the Miami Dolphins (+1). The OVER/UNDER for this contest is set at a combined total of 39 points and alternate money-lines go as follows: Broncos (-115) vs. Dolphins (-105).