The Broncos face a critical test against the AFC titans in the south

Englewood, Colorado – In the NFL, it’s unwise to skip a game on the schedule.

Each week, any team has a chance – and an ability – to win and win. And as the Broncos aim to run to save their post-season hopes, they won’t underestimate any team in their remaining schedule.

But as the Broncos gear up for their Week 10 match with the South Asian Titans, it’s clear that this particular game could be a real test for the rest of the year.

With the win, the Broncos will achieve their first win of the season against a team with a winning record. They’ll score their first real win on the road, and knock out a team that has advanced beyond the season in each of the past three years. The Broncos will also rise to 4-5 with their win and make a strong return to the wild cards race.

However, a loss would see the Broncos fall back to the 3-6 mark with eight games to play. Their margin of error will be largely gone, and Denver will have to finish the game 7-1 or 6-2 – with two games against the leading AFC Western leaders and a road match against the North Asian leaders Ravens on the roster, among other challenging games.

As such, quarterback Russell Wilson said the Broncos should approach this weekend’s game with the mentality of winning or going home.

“You have to have the playoff mentality now,” Wilson said Wednesday. “That’s one of the things that you take on this week and realize that you play a great football team for the Tennessee Titans. They are doing a lot of great things across the board. We have to be at our best and give our game. That’s what we’re looking forward to: preparation at the highest level this week. The only thing that matters is today. All other things in the way are not really important. At the end of the day we should have a great practice today and make sure that today’s practice is excellent and of the highest standard.”

For the Broncos to earn a much-needed win against the Titans, they must be able to match the physicality of the team that relies on NFL-leading racer Derek Henry and attacking the top 10.

“They are a football team with incredible physicality,” said coach Nathaniel Hackett. This is what they are proud of. This is how they manage the ball. This is how they do everything – from defense, attack and special teams as well. They bring it in. It is something you signal to the team. You tell them that. These guys are going to thwart everything. They love to communicate, they love to be physical, and they take pride in themselves for that. It’s a challenge for our entire team to take on a very good physical football team.”

However, the Broncos think they might be stepping up their feet, too. Several offensive players on Wednesday spoke of the benefit of increasing tempo, and Wilson commented on the Broncos’ ability to respond to adversity in Denver’s 21-17 win over Jacksonville.

“Ultimately, throughout the season, you continue to develop as a team,” Wilson said. “There’s a development in your team. I think London was a big moment for us because during all these games – every game was close and low, the last possession or two, or whatever. Run the game and win the game on the line. [is big]. I remember going out into the field, and it started to rain a little bit. The rainbow came out and I said, “Okay, here we go again.” That’s what you’re looking forward to – those moments. Those moments when you can answer the call. It won’t go your way every time, but every time you think it will go your way. This is the mentality you should have when you walk the field. In difficult situations and in big moments, I never feared them. I don’t think our football team does that at all.

“We are looking forward to what lies ahead. Obviously it will be a great match this week. Like I said, they have a great football team and a lot of great players. We have to be at our best.”

The Broncos were clear – both pre-season and in the final days – that they will aim to give their best late in the season. They’ve also talked about the need to tie wins together and run. It starts this weekend, and the stakes are high.

By winning, the Broncos would nearly double their chances in the playoffs. According to the New York Times playoff forecaster, Denver’s chances will improve from eight percent to 14 percent with a win. But with a loss, the team’s chances drop to only four percent.

The bets are not at the playoff level, but they are close. And on Sunday, Denver will be looking to win a statement.

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