The Browns and the Broncos play tonight in Ohio in what might be one of the most mediocre Thursday night matchups that we’ll see all season.
With both teams being 3-3 and Cleveland having nearly all of its playmakers out due to injury, this game probably has as much excitement around it as a PowerPoint presentation about fax paper.
The Broncos have an interesting opportunity tonight to show America that they can actually be a team that’s not mediocre and a team people can’t dismiss.
Baker Mayfield will be out because of a shoulder injury, so we’ll get a break from seeing him be slightly above average and remind Browns fans that they are forced to settle at quarterback when the loves of their football lives are competing in Buffalo and Baltimore respectively. For Browns fans, they’ve been living in this Lifetime movie for a few seasons now, so at least they’ll get another main character to see for a night.
Even with all the injuries, Case Keenum can still lead this team to a win tonight even though he hasn’t played meaningful football since Lil Nas X was taking his horse to the Old Town Road. I like Teddy Bridgewater and I wouldn’t be surprised if they won this game tonight but I just think this Denver team needs to show us more offensively to make any real waves this season.
Keep in mind that Keenum was part of that rotating QB factory run by John Elway just three seasons ago. Keenum wasn’t good for the Broncos, recording just 18 touchdowns to go along with 15 interceptions en route to a mediocre 6-10 record, but ever since John Elway was hired as the to lead the Broncos’ football operations in 2011, the Denver Broncos’ QB position has been a carousel of mediocrity and Keenum may very well be the most reliable Broncos’ quarterback since Peyton Manning. Bridgewater’s off to a solid start, but Keenum started every game for an entire season. We don’t know whether or not Bridgewater can do that yet.
When the Broncos traded for Bridgewater this offseason, they were hoping that Bridgewater could show the potential to hold the quarterback position above water until they found a franchise guy. Maybe Bridgewater could even develop into a franchise guy. So, how humiliating would it be if the guy you dumped three years ago took down your team despite all of his best weapons being injured? With all these injuries, the Broncos arguably have the better all-around roster. They clearly have the better receivers and halfbacks. They arguably have a better O-line if Wills and Conklin don’t play tonight, and the Broncos defense is up there with the best in the league.
Imagine if Case Keenum took down the Broncos. That might be enough evidence for Broncos’ owner Pat Bowlen to consider terminating Elway’s contract. Yes, he did great work bringing Peyton Manning to the Mile High City, but what has Elway done for the franchise lately? That’s the question that will be on Bowlen’s mind if they can’t beat Case Keenum.
This will be a huge game for Cleveland to see if they can keep their head above water in the AFC and their own division. The Ravens have caught a groove and they are running through people like a bottle of Deer Park water after 8 tequila shots. The Bengals are also nothing to play with because Joe Burrow has those guys looking like they can potentially steal a playoff spot from somebody. Even the Steelers, who have an offense that’s as bland as a Republican grandmother’s rice casserole, are tied with the Browns for last in the division at 3-3. So this will be a really big test for Denver to see if they can hold off this hungry Browns team.
The Broncos are currently a mediocre team in NFL purgatory and they need to prove that they are heading in the right direction. That could all start tonight with a strong performance in Cleveland.