The Denver Broncos are heading out to Tennessee this weekend to take on the Titans at LP Field. NFL predictions for Week 3 are all over the map, with most assuming the Titans will overtake the Broncos easily in this matchup. As a Broncos fan myself, I thought it was time to take a realistic look at how a loss in the Volunteer State may affect not only the Broncos' morale, but also the roster.
NFL power rankings for Week 3 have Tennessee sitting at No. 19 and the Denver Broncos not far behind at No. 25. However, the Titans are coming off an upset over the Baltimore Ravens, whereas the Denver Broncos barely escaped the Cincinnati Bengals in a 24-22 victory. And, of course, the Titans will be meeting the Broncos on their home turf, definitely giving them an advantage.
Now don't get me wrong, I still think Denver can win. However, if the unthinkable happens, where will that leave the Broncos going into Week 4?
First off, the Broncos fanbase is already in an uproar over who's playing quarterback with half being pro-Kyle Orton and the other half pro-Tim Tebow. If Denver loses on Sunday, how many more days does Orton have as the starting QB?
Both head coach John Fox and vice president John Elway have said several times that they back Orton as the leader of the Broncos offense, and even with a loss at Tennessee I believe they will still continue to do so. But will it be to the team's detriment? Will the fans' cries for Tebow turn into a deafening roar?
Assuming the injured players missing from last week's game play this Sunday, they better all perform up to snuff, too. After last week's tough battle, many players rose to the challenge and put up impressive numbers. Willis McGahee and Eric Decker put their mark on the game and earned a right to continue playing in those respective roles. If Knowshon Moreno fails to deliver this week, he and Orton may be sharing space on the bench.
Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium has already seen a decline in ticket sales and an increase in empty seats. If the Broncos lose to the Titans but continue to keep Orton and other lackluster players in, my prediction is the Denver fans will continue to show their increasing displeasure by staying home, and for those that do attend games, watch out for louder booing.
Beyond the fans' growing anger, a loss Sunday could place the Broncos in an even tougher spot going up against the Green Bay Packers in Week 4. If the Broncos encounter a rough game in Tennessee, morale will be lowered heading into the game at Lambeau Field, and the Broncos will need their full arsenal if they want a shot at taking the Packers down there. Not only will the players' spirits be low, but with a growing dissent among the fans, the Denver Broncos may find it near impossible to topple the Packers.
The easiest fix for these Week 3 predictions? The Broncos just need to win.
Again, I think they have the capability of taking it to the Titans this week. Most of their injured players that are so pivotal to the team are returning this week, and as mentioned earlier, their backups are no slouches either. If Orton can effectively manage this game Sunday (and hold on to the ball), calls for his head may hold off for one more week.
As a Denver fan, here's hoping the Broncos win this Sunday and prove all my predictions wrong.