Brett Rypien threw an NFL record eight touchdown passes in the Broncos’ awe-inspiring 59-24 victory over the Patriots. It was not a close shave at Gillette Stadium.
I made up that wishful faux outcome.
But, as you may have heard by now, the Broncos and the Pity-Pats didn’t play Sunday or Monday.
They are scheduled to try a Redux on Sunday in Foxborough, Mass.
Stay tuned, though.
Maybe the teams will meet again Jan. 16 in the wild-card game.
And the Broncos might advance eventually to Super Bowl LV in Tampa on Feb. 7 before a crowd of 3,684.
Who knows? The NFL certainly doesn’t.
This much we do know: Everybody in Colorado can trash those insurance agency refrigerator magnets promoting the Broncos’ 2020 schedule. They’re worthless.
Dates of five of the Broncos’ remaining 12 games have been or could be changed.
If this is Sunday, Dec. 27, or Monday, Dec. 28, the Broncos could be playing the Los Angeles Chargers in SoFi Stadium after playing the Chargers earlier in a newly rescheduled game Nov. 1 at Mile High stadium.
Unless you studied calculus or callousness, the Broncos’ Mulligan Schedule is befuddling. The Patriots are on the Broncos’ calendar where the Dolphins used to be; the Dolphins are where the Chargers used to be, and the Chargers are where nobody used to be. Plus, two games in December have alternative dates.
Because of the pandemic’s damage, everything in the NFL is out of whack.
Consider all these matters regarding the Broncos:
- Instead of a Rypien-Jarrett Stidham quarterback matchup Sunday, Drew Lock and Cam Newton, each an additional week removed from a shoulder injury and a COVID-19 positive test, are expected to start.
- With extra time off, the Broncos will have at least seven other players who will be healthier for the game with the Patriots. But not even Von Miller can have that kind of miraculous recovery.
- The Chiefs suddenly are not so invincible after the shocking 40-32 defeat at home to the Raiders. The Broncos might be able, at last, to upset them in one or even both games. Yet, the Raiders could be better than previously advertised, and the two games with the Broncos certainly should be high-risk gambles.
- Justin Herbert has become, according to coach Anthony Lynn, the Chargers’ “permanent starter,’’ so the Broncos likely will see him twice. But the switch of the Broncos-Dolphins conflict probably will end up with a switch of quarterbacks in south Florida. By the time the Broncos play the Dolphins Tua Tagovailoa might be the starter, but, then, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns in Miami’s 43-17 blowout of the 49ers on Sunday. Conceivably, the Dolphins won’t be an automatic victory for the Broncos later in the season.
- Hey, however, those Atlanta Falcons are in the competition with the New York doofuses, the Jets and the Giants, for the No. 1 draft pick and the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes — although the Clemson quarterback should decide to go back to school (and a superior team to the Jersey Boys). The Broncos already had gotten fortunate against the Falcons when their original game was moved from London to Atlanta. The flawed Falcons are 0-5 and fired Dan Quinn.
Before the season I projected the Broncos to finish 8-8 and not reach the expanded playoffs (seven teams in each conference).
Since the league has done a makeover on the schedule, I’m allowed a do-over on the prediction.
If other teams — the Packers twice, the Cowboys, the Browns, the Raiders and the woebegotten Dolphins — can score 40 points, and if 30 or more points has been reached by teams 56 times, why not the Broncos?
The Broncos still will lose at New England, but they flog the vulnerable Chiefs, the rookie quarterbacked-Chargers and the Falcons three consecutive games.
The record becomes 4-4.
The Broncos fall in Las Vegas, but prevail back home vs. the Dolphins. They crush the unsteady Saints, but crash in Kansas City for a 6-6 mark. The Broncos win in Carolina, but can’t hold off the Bills. And they conclude with a defeat in San Diego and a triumph over the Raiders at home.
One thing won’t change.