Upgrade Your Fandom

Join the Ultimate Denver Broncos Community!

Broncos Roundtable: Will Drew Lock bounce back against the Lions?

Zac Stevens Avatar
December 21, 2019

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — On Sunday, for the first time in the Vic Fangio era, the Broncos will play a meaningless football game.

After falling to the Chiefs and dropping to 5-9 on the season, the Broncos were eliminated from the playoffs and guaranteed themselves their third-consecutive losing season.

Despite that, there’s a potentially juicy storyline for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions as the one and only Kyle Sloter returns to town.

Will the former Bronco fan-favorite Sloter be given a chance to take down Denver’s new love Drew Lock? Will John Elway be proven wrong for cutting Sloter in 2017?

The DNVR Broncos Crew breaks it down.



24/32, 304 yards, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions — It could not be set up any better for Drew Lock to have a big-time bounce-back game. The game is being played at home, the weather is going to be perfect and, most of all, the Lions have one of the worst secondaries in the entire NFL.

It’s interesting to have such high expectations for a rookie making just his fourth NFL start, but the truth is it would be truly disappointing if Lock doesn’t find a way to have a good game on Sunday.


18/26, 308 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception, 2 sacks, 131.6 passer rating — Heckuva bounce-back game for Drew Lock, eh?

But this is not unrealistic. Not one bit. Not only did the rookie post a similar line—22/27, 309 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception—in his second start, but my prediction for Lock was exactly what Jameis Winston did against the Lions on Sunday… in the first half.

That’s right, Jameis dropped three touchdowns and 300 yards in the first half against this poor Lions’ defense. Detroit’s unquestionably one of the worst pass defenses in the entire league, ranking in the bottom five in nearly every statistical category.

Additionally, Rich Scangarello and the Broncos are going to want to get Lock back on the right foot, especially at home. All signs point to No. 3 having another outstanding game.


19-of-29, 275 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception, 116.3 passer rating — Only the Cardinals and Raiders have allowed a higher passer rating against them this season than the Lions, who have permitted opposing quarterbacks to post a 102.5 passer rating and a 30-to-6 touchdown-to-interception figure. The Lions are even worse during their current 1-10 funk, permitting a 109.6 passer rating and a 26-to-4 TD-to-INT ratio.

In other words, expect Lock to have a highly efficient day against a Detroit defense that has been a sieve against the pass.



15 percent — I am putting a bit of faith in the Lions coaching staff here that they aren’t dumb enough to throw Kyle Sloter into his first NFL action without giving him the proper preparations during the week.

Giving a quarterback a “short leash” is one of the dumbest things a coaching staff can do, everybody loses. The starter can’t operate properly with the backup breathing down his neck and the backup can’t prepare as if he’s the starter. For Sloter’s sake, I truly hope this doesn’t happen.

So, for me, the only way this happens is if David Blough gets injured, and I think 15 percent is a fair number on that.


25 percent — It’s hard to predict a starting quarterback is going to get benched mid-game. But that’s just how bad Lions’ starting quarterback David Blough has been.

In his three starts, Blough has three touchdowns and five interceptions for a dreadful 67 passer rating. And those stats are favorable to Blough. In his past two starts, he’s thrown one touchdown to four interceptions, leading to rumblings out of Detroit that the rookie quarterback could have a short leash against Denver.

While Vic Fangio’s defense is depleted, they’ll be able to handle Blough. The question will be can they force multiple turnovers in the first half. If they do, it’ll be Kyle Sloter stepping on the field for the Lions in the second half in front of a crowd that once adored him for a preseason.

But if this happens, Broncos fans will quickly realize Elway made the right decision in not making Sloter a priority.


35 percent — More than half of the NFL has turned to its backups at some point in the season. The Lions are in the cluster of teams — which includes the Broncos — to have turned to a third quarterback to start.

The difference in pedigree between Lock and Blough is obvious. Lock was a second-round pick who many had tipped to be a first-rounder; Blough went undrafted and lingered in Browns camp before the Lions traded for him. Lock is a potential long-term starter. Blough looks like a backup, at best.

Since Blough completed 5 of his first 7 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns in his starting debut against Chicago on Thanksgiving, he has posted a 56.5 passer rating on 65-of-114 passing for 609 yards, 1 touchdown and 5 interceptions. If that form continues, Matt Patricia has no choice but to turn to Sloter.



Broncos 34, Lions 10 — The Broncos have the advantage in just about every category in this game. Better quarterback, better running game, better all-around offense, better pass rush, better secondary, better all-around defense. This should be a blowout.

The only thing that gives me pause on this prediction is the bug that’s been going around the Broncos locker room this week. It seems that about half of the team is dealing with some degree of illness. That worries me, but I’m still sticking to my pre-illness prediction from earlier in the week.


Broncos 27, Lions 17 — Since losing Matthew Stafford, the Lions have been awful since Week 10. Before losing their franchise quarterback, they weren’t that good anyway, only going 3-4-1, but since, they haven’t won a single game.

The dreadful 0-6 Stafford-less Lions have lost by an average of nearly 10 points, even falling to the Washington Redskins.

Not only are the Lions terrible, but every department of the Broncos is going to be seeking a big-time bounce-back from Sunday’s 23-3 beatdown by the Chiefs.

The offense under Lock isn’t just going to want to score, they are going to want to establish the big play. The defense will look to handle a terrible Lions offense. And the coaching staff will want to do it all in convincing fashion.

It should be a happy holidays for Broncos fans on Sunday.


Broncos 38, Lions 20 — Here’s a game where the Broncos can turn Lock loose while also getting their ground game back into form.

So why could the Lions post points with Blough at quarterback? It all comes down to their receivers, a 1-2-3 group of Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola that could cause issues for a secondary that now adds the suspension of Kareem Jackson to the season-long injury absence of Bryce Callahan. Blough will have his misfires, but he’ll hit his targets enough to allow the Lions to generate some yardage and points, even though they could be in garbage time.


Share your thoughts

Join the conversation

The Comment section is only for diehard members

Open comments +

Scroll to next article

Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?