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Three Keys to Broncos-Jets

Posted Dec 9, 2017

What are the keys to the Broncos snapping their losing streak and getting back in the win column against the Jets?

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Just as absence makes the heart grow fonder, a drought of wins would make a triumph all the sweeter.

"We might dump the Gatorade on [Head Coach Vance Joseph]," running back C.J. Anderson said. "We ain't won in two months."

Until they can recapture that winning feeling, all the Broncos have is a painful feeling that has repeated itself often, but not to the point at which the players are numb.

"We all are sick and tired of losing," running back C.J. Anderson said. "I don’t know if y’all understand how much losing bothers people because y’all are not in it. You don’t feel it. It’s like going to your job every day and it sucks. It just sucks.

"You’re talking to other players around the league and you’re seeing fun celebrations that you never got a chance to do."

But with Sunday's game and a short week before a trip to Indianapolis after that, the Broncos have an opportunity to provide some significant short-term change to their narrative.

"It’s a chance to win two games in five days," Head Coach Vance Joseph said. "That’s what our team is focused on."

What are the keys to taking care of the first half of that task against the Jets?

1. Avoid early mistakes

Usually, these have been giveaways. First-half turnovers have led to touchdowns in seven of the eight losses during the Broncos' losing streak, including three that saw scores directly via interception or fumble returns by the Giants, Chiefs and Dolphins. A wayward snap in the first quarter last week in Miami also gave the Dolphins a safety that put them in front 2-0 to open the game.

Such miscues have often been the first domino to fall, sending the Broncos spiraling toward defeat, usually by double digits. Anderson knows the Broncos have to change their mindset.

“I think one is a mindset not to tell ourselves, ‘Oh, here we go again. Here's another tipped interception. Here's another muffed punt. Here's another big defensive touchdown,'" Anderson said. "I guess that's the best way, the mindset, move on and go to the next play. Everyone [must] continue to do their job consistently at a high level."

2. Win the turnover battle

The Jets are 1-5 when they have a negative turnover margin, including three consecutive losses in that scenario. Only nine teams have more giveaways than the Jets' 17 so far this season, but they have played turnover-free football in two of their last four games after having at least one giveaway in each of their first eight games to open the season.

The Broncos couldn't cure their turnover woes last week, but their secondary did rediscover its takeaway touch, as Chris Harris Jr., Justin Simmons and Bradley Roby all generated turnovers.

"The last couple of weeks we really spent a lot of time at practice emphasizing turnovers and doing different drills," Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods said. "We’ve been close. I remember the Cincinnati game we had a lot of balls on the ground and we just weren’t able to get them. But this game, to get the turnover and the interception by Chris, to get the score by Justin -- that was big for us. It was good to see."

3. Don't let the Jets control the tempo

One reason New York was able to turn back the Chiefs last week was because its offense was able to generate long, time-consuming drives that helped offset Kansas City's quick-strike offense and wore down the Chiefs' sagging defense. New York ran 49 times and converted 13 of 20 third-down attempts last week, keeping the Chiefs' offense in dry dock for two-thirds of the game.

If the Broncos can get the Jets' offense off the field and extend some drives of their own, they can prevent the Jets from having a vice grip on the game as they did last week.

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