Promising starts have given way to unmitigated disaster for both the Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins, who enter Sunday’s tilt at Hard Rock Stadium with constantly revolving quarterback carousels and pronounced losing skids. Trevor Siemian will get the nod for the Broncos as they bid to end a seven-game winless streak against former first-round pick Jay Cutler and the Dolphins, who have dropped five in a row.
“I think he’ll be alright,” Miami coach Adam Gase said of Cutler, who sat out Sunday’s 35-17 loss to New England with a concussion. “He just needs to have a good week of practice. Just clean up some stuff, get his timing down, get the ball out on time.” Cutler will be facing a Denver team with which he spent his first three NFL seasons after being selected by the club with the 11th overall pick in the 2006 draft, although the 34-year-old insists he doesn’t think of those days. The Broncos will once again turn to Siemian, who will be back under center with Paxton Lynch sidelined two-to-four weeks with an ankle injury. Siemian led Denver to a pair of late touchdowns in a 21-14 loss to Oakland last Sunday in a game best remembered for cornerback Aqib Talib drawing a one-game suspension following his fireworks with Raiders wideout Michael Crabtree.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Broncos -1.5. O/U: 39.5
ABOUT THE BRONCOS (3-8): Denver’s offense has hit the skids, and the fall-off of C.J. Anderson has been pronounced as the starting running back has rushed 37 times for just 116 yards in the last four games. Wideout Demaryius Thomas has been consistent if unspectacular, reeling in five receptions in three straight games - albeit for just 126 yards total. Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller, who will play in his 100th regular-season game on Sunday, leads the team with 8.5 sacks and is closing in on his seventh double-digit total for a season in his eight-year career.
ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (4-7): With fellow running back Damien Williams nursing a dislocated shoulder, Kenyan Drake could be in line for a significant workload on Sunday and perhaps down the road if he takes advantage of the opportunity. The 23-year-old Drake has shown flashes while splitting time with Williams, rushing for 175 yards and adding 12 catches for 82 yards in four games since Jay Ajayi was traded to Philadelphia. Drake’s downfall has been a pair of fumbles in that stretch, including a costly one in the second half against the Patriots that drew Gase’s ire and effectively ended any chance for a late comeback.
1. Gase was an assistant in Denver from 2009-14, while first-year Broncos coach Vance Joseph was the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator last season.
2. Denver CB Bradley Roby will start in place of Talib opposite Chris Harris, and rookie Brandan Langley will also see plenty of work in the secondary.
3. Miami WR Jarvis Landry has recorded at least five catches and seven targets in every game this season, but has eclipsed 78 yards receiving on just two occasions.
PREDICTION: Broncos 19, Dolphins 17