The Miami Dolphins welcome the Denver Broncos into Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday for a Week 3 showdown and the home opener for the Dolphins in 2023. Miami comes into the game 2-0 and is looking to continue to build momentum early in the season. The Broncos, meanwhile, are 0-2 and just trying to find any sense of rhythm.
With the Dolphins scheduled for an AFC East showdown with the Buffalo Bills in Week 4, could this be a trap game for Miami? Will the Broncos be able to end their early-season struggles to get after the Dolphins and get into the win column this year? To better understand who the Broncos are this year, I turned to our friends over at SB Nation’s Broncos team site, Mile High Report.
Ian St. Clair was kind enough to sit down with me to give us a preview of the Broncos. We spoke about head coach Sean Payton, quarterback Russell Wilson, and Denver’s habit of leading early but collapsing in the second half of games.
Sean Payton was supposed to be the savior of Russell Wilson and the Broncos, but an 0-2 start is different from what was sold to the fans. How do the fans feel about Payton? Is this just a matter of waiting for the system to take hold?
Patience was already wearing thin for Broncos fans, and this start isn’t helping matters … at all. Payton told the media earlier this week that Denver has to understand “how not to lose games.” As the old saying goes, you have to crawl before you can walk, and that’s the case with the Broncos. This start highlights how bad this organization has been and how far it is from winning games. So, despite wanting the turnaround to be instant, it is a matter of waiting it out and being patient. You see flashes, and it’ll eventually happen, just not as soon as most Denver fans would like.
Speaking of Wilson, now in year two, how are fans feeling about that trade? What are the expectations of Wilson this year, and what is working/not working for him?
Wilson has been “better,” but it’s exactly like this team. Phenomenal in the first half and hot garbage in the second. Wilson and this team must figure out the second-half issues because it’s costing this team. In terms of the trade, most Broncos fans would say it wasn’t worth the investment. Of course that could change as soon as Payton and Wilson start winning games. Right now, they’re not, and that’s the only stat that matters.
The Broncos seem to get off to a good start each week, but collapse in the second half of games. What is happening there, and how do they fix it?
That’s the million-dollar question. Maybe the billion-dollar question, and I don’t have the answer. Hopefully, Payton does because it makes zero sense. In the first half, Denver is a gourmet dish you can’t wait to dive into. In the second half, the kitchen is in flames, and the whole neighborhood is on fire. Aside from how putrid the Broncos defense is, this is the biggest issue surrounding this team.
There is a lot of discussion about the Broncos’ defense and struggles this year. What is working for them, and if you were designing an offense to attack the Broncos, what would you gameplan?
I’m struggling to think of anything working for the Denver defense. That sounds like hyperbole, but it’s true. Vance Joseph’s plans are terrible. The Broncos can’t consistently tackle, cover, get pressure on the quarterback or stop the running game. Denver just got shredded by a rookie quarterback and now faces the best statistical offense in the NFL. Mike McDaniel must be salivating over what he can do to this defense on Sunday. If I were the Dolphins, I would play to their strengths. Let Tua test the Broncos porous secondary with the offensive weapons he has and mix in Raheem Mostert runs to keep the defense on its heels.
The Dolphins are 6.5-point favorites for this game, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. To a Dolphins fan, this is strange territory; we are just not used to being an almost touchdown favorite to anyone. Do you think this spread is accurate? How do you see this game playing out?
Since this game is in Miami, and the Broncos don’t typically fare well in South Florida or any games on the East Coast, I’m shocked this spread isn’t higher, like 9.5. When you throw in that this is the Dolphins home opener, bettors should be jumping on this spread. I have no doubt Miami will win by at least a touchdown. I don’t see how the Broncos keep it close. The Dolphins offense is really good, and the Denver defense is really bad. The only shot the Broncos have is to keep pace with Miami’s offense, and I don’t see that happening. I see a lopsided Dolphins win, 41-17.