Washington Football Team (2-5) at Denver Broncos (3-4)
The Broncos got off to a 3-0 start, but have completely collapsed since then, losing four straight games by a combined 37 points. It’s easy to say that the Broncos stopped winning because their schedule got harder, as their three wins came against teams that are a combined 4-15, but the Broncos won those three games in convincing fashion, all by double digits, by a combined 50 points, and their schedule hasn’t been that difficult over the past four games, as the Raiders and Steelers are middling teams at best, while the Browns were starting a backup quarterback, leaving the Ravens as the only legitimately tough opponent the Broncos have faced all season.
A bigger deal than the schedule getting harder for the Broncos is simply how many players they have lost due to injury, as they have lost talented edge defender Bradley Chubb, their two starting inside linebackers Josey Jewell and Alexander Johnson, who were both playing above average, as well as promising young wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler, though the former could return this week from a 6-game absence. Even bigger than any of those absences would be the loss of Von Miller, who is highly questionable for this game after not practicing all week.
The oddsmakers and/or the public don’t seem to have caught up with how much less talent the Broncos have than they did earlier this season when they were beating bad teams convincingly, favoring the Broncos by 3.5 points in this home game against Washington. Washington isn’t as bad as the teams the Broncos have beaten and those wins were back when the Broncos were not missing so many key players, so this could easily be a close game or an upset. My calculated line has the Broncos favored by 2, so we’re getting some line value at +3.5, although I would need Miller to be ruled out for Washington to be worth betting.
Update: Von Miller sounds unlikely to play, but this line still moved up to 4. Jerry Jeudy will play for the Broncos, but this line is still too high. If Miller doesn’t play, Washington is the better of these two teams and homefield advantage isn’t what it used to be.
Denver Broncos 24 Washington Football Team 23
Pick against the spread: Washington +4