Super Bowl Reeves Fingerprints Football

FILE - In this Aug. 19, 1989, file photo, Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway, right, and coach Dan Reeves stand on the sideline during the team's NFL preseason football game against the San Francisco 49ers in San Francisco, Calif. Elway was not playing in the game. Like millions of Americans, Reeves will settle in at home on Sunday, turn on the TV, and follow along as the Broncos play the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl. And make no mistake, he has a rooting interest, because of all sorts of ties to Denver and several key figures who helped the team reach the big game, including general manager John Elway, head coach Gary Kubiak and others. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

Klee’s Scorecard: Detroit Lions at Broncos

Offense

If it feels like this has been a historically bad Broncos offense, well, trust your gut. The Broncos are on pace for 273 points this season. That would be their fewest points since 1992, a performance so dismal Dan Reeves was fired after the season. Yikes.

Advantage: Lions

Defense

Here’s a theory to store away for future reference — say, when free agency rolls around: Chris Harris Jr.’s substandard season could be the reason he re-signs with the Broncos. His price tag has dipped, no doubt. Now the Broncos can afford him.

Advantage: Broncos

Special teams

As New Year’s Day approaches, here’s the annual reminder that NFL special teams are overrated: the Bengals, Jets and Redskins rank among the top five in special teams, according to the excellent Football Outsiders. They combine for nine wins — total.

Advantage: Lions

Coaching

Vic Fangio’s not a hockey guy. We couldn’t drag him to see Bryan Yoon school fools for Colorado College. But maybe the Broncos should study up on recent hockey history: the move that built this Avs powerhouse was trading star Matt Duchene. Is Von Miller next?

Advantage: Broncos

Prediction

Closing with wins against the Lions and Raiders is a good idea for ticket sales and Broncos Country morale. That’s about it. Hate to say it, but keeping a top-10 draft pick is far more valuable in the long run. Regardless, here come the Lions. Broncos in a no-doubter.

Klee’s pick: Broncos (minus-7) 26, Lions 18 (Record: 7-7 overall, 7-7 ATS)

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

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