America Protests Denver

Broncos quarterback Drew Lock wears a face mask as he takes part in a rally with teammates Saturday in Denver.

Klee’s Scorecard: Titans at Broncos, Week 1

Offense

On the spot in 2020: Drew Lock. The cute notion sports are a unifying force went out the window when sports returned only to ignite another round of insults across the aisle. One exception in Colorado would be seeing a Broncos quarterback emerge as a franchise cornerstone.

Advantage: Titans

Defense

On the spot: the safeties, Kareem Jackson and Justin Simmons. Denver’s $111.4 million ‘D’ is the most expensive in the NFL. That’s $14 million more than No. 2, Pittsburgh, per Spotrac.com, and includes the priciest bunch of safeties. Von Miller or no Von Miller, no excuses on ‘D.’

Advantage: Broncos

Special teams

On the spot: punter Sam Martin. Hope we never get to know the guy. Hope the answer to “Who’s Sam Martin?” is “Who?” Sorry, Sam. It’s not personal. Just business. And the 2019 Broncos were in the business of punting too often — 78 punts last season, tied for sixth-most in the NFL.

Advantage: Titans

Coaching

On the spot: Vic Fangio. He lost franchise star Von Miller. Had no preseason with a second-year QB (with Drew Lock learning his fifth offensive coordinator in six years). But three decades of NFL know-how should serve as a handy reference guide navigating a team through a pandemic.

Advantage: Titans

Intangibles

On the spot: John Elway. What’s new? This season is the latest referendum on Elway’s rebuild of the roster. And while Tennessee stood pat off the AFC title game, Denver went bold with Jurrell Casey (No. 99), Graham Glasgow (No. 61) and A.J. Bouye (No. 21). The edge goes to continuity.

Advantage: Titans

Klee’s prediction: Titans (minus-1) 23, Broncos 20 (Last season: 9-7 overall, 9-7 ATS)

—Paul Klee

(Contact Gazette sports columnist Paul Klee at paul.klee@gazette.com or on Twitter at @bypaulklee.)

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