The Denver Broncos were an offensive disaster in Year 1 of the Russell Wilson Era, but expectations are much higher in 2023 with a major upgrade at head coach in Sean Payton over the historically bad Nathaniel Hackett. However, the Broncos are now really thin at receiver with starter Jerry Jeudy expected to miss several weeks with a hamstring injury. Sportsbooks have slightly adjusted Denver’s Week 1 numbers against the visiting Las Vegas Raiders.
Social media can be invasive but now the casual football fan can see everything in terms of NFL practices, etc., and it was fairly evident when Jeudy left a joint practice Thursday with the Rams that his hamstring was seriously injured. During drills, Jeudy quickly grabbed his upper right leg after a play and had to be carted to the locker room. He was visibly angry as trainers had to help him off the cart.
Jeudy is not a Top 10 wideout in the NFL, but the 2020 first-round pick was one of the best in the league at the tail end of last season despite Denver’s many other offensive woes. From Weeks 13-18, Jeudy totaled 523 yards receiving, which was fifth in the league. Overall, he finished with career-high totals of 67 catches for 972 yards and six scores despite missing two games.
Wilson averaged 10.2 yards per attempt when targeting Jeudy compared to 8.3 ypa to all other wideouts. The Broncos exercised Jeudy’s 2024 rookie fifth-year option in May.
#BroncosCountry already had lost receivers Tim Patrick and Jalen Virgil to season-ending injuries, and KJ Hamler was diagnosed with a heart ailment and released with a non-football illness designation. Patrick had a very solid 2021 season in Denver with 53 catches for 734 yards and five scores but missed all of 2022 with a torn ACL and now he’s dealing with a torn Achilles. Virgil didn’t play much as a rookie last year but was pegged for a much bigger role. Hamler really never has panned out; Denver took Jeudy at No. 15 overall in the 2020 draft and then Hamler at No. 46.
The team hasn’t said yet how long Jeudy will be out, but it appears Week 1 at a minimum is out of the question. Second-round rookie Marvin Mims Jr. could be the biggest beneficiary in terms of targets/additional playing time. The likes of Kenny Golladay and Jarvis Landry are available in free agency.
All books are different, but generally the #Broncos moved from 4.5-point favorites against Las Vegas to -4.0 with the Jeudy news and the total from 44 points to 43.5.
Las Vegas running back Josh Jacobs, the 2022 NFL rushing king, has been holding out and hasn’t signed his franchise tag yet but reportedly will and plans to play in the opener. If he does, don’t be surprised if this spread drops again. The #RaiderNation won both matchups last year but also break in a new starting QB in Jimmy Garoppolo.