The Denver Broncos need a win Sunday at a bad Jacksonville team to stay in the wild-card chase and perhaps still in the AFC West race. However, the Broncos will have to beat the Jaguars without starting QB Trevor Siemian. Expect the NFL odds to move accordingly.
In many ways, Sunday's game already looked like a major trap for the Broncos after playing deep into last Sunday night and losing an absolute crusher at home to Kansas City -- really a game that Denver should have won. That severely hurt the team's chances of winning the AFC West again so it's probably wild card or bust.
So then you add an early East Coast early kickoff this Sunday against a Jacksonville team that has nothing to play for and thus can try anything -- and now Siemian sitting out and it looks really dangerous for Denver. Siemian had one of his best games of the season in the Chiefs loss and didn't appear hurt during it, but did injure his foot and will not play against the Jaguars. Rookie first-round pick Paxton Lynch gets the call. As of this writing the Broncos are -3.5 on NFL odds.
Lynch, whom the Broncos traded up for in the late first round of this spring's draft, relieved an injured Siemian on Oct. 2 at Tampa Bay and played pretty well, completing 14 of 24 for 170 yards, a TD and no picks -- good for a rating of 94.1. He started the next week in a home loss to Atlanta and wasn't as good, completing 23 of 35 for 223 yards, a TD and a pick -- a rating of 81. The Jaguars are awful but actually rank No. 3 against the pass in total yards allowed. They have only picked off three passes, however.
Jacksonville also will be missing two offensive starters: running back Chris Ivory and No. 2 receiver Allen Hurns have both been ruled out. Ivory's co-No. 1 at tailback, T.J. Yeldon, is dealing with an ankle injury and Coach Gus Bradley has said Yeldon's workload will be a game-time decision.
The Broncos are 0-4 ATS on NFL picks in their past four against the Jaguars.