Oct 6, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) signals prior to the snap against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
KUSA - Facing a team with an offense that can't get to the end zone and a defense allowing plenty of points, the Denver Broncos don't want to let the Jacksonville Jaguars play spoiler Sunday in the biggest mismatch in NFL history.
Get your Broncos-Jaguars update, highlights here during the game: http://on9news.tv/1ej7hRE.
Jacksonville, which is a four-touchdown underdog, ranks in the bottom five in a number of major statistics in the league. The Broncos' offense is the best in the NFL in scoring (46.0), passing yards (373.8) and total yards (489.8).
The Jaguars have scored 51 points, and their 10.2 point per game average is the worst in the league. Jacksonville's defense has allowed 32.6 points per game, second most to only the 0-5 New York Giants (36.4).
That said, Broncos coach John Fox knows all those numbers can motivate a young team.
"I know they're going to get sick and tired of hearing the same things I'm getting sick and tired of hearing," Fox said earlier this week. "So we know we'll get a feisty group come here and we better show up."
With the return of wide receiver Justin Blackmon tempered by the loss of starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert (hamstring), the Jaguars' offense continues to find its identity. Further complicating things, starting left tackle Luke Joeckel sustained a season-ending ankle injury last week.
Sixth-year veteran Chad Henne returns after starting Weeks 2 and 3, which were a 19-9 loss at Oakland and 45-17 loss at Seattle. In those games Henne was a combined 43-of-76 passing for 476 yards with one touchdown, two interceptions and sacked eight times.
Coming in last week against St. Louis after Gabbert was hurt, Henne was 7-of-13 for 89 yards and a 4-yard touchdown to Cecil Shorts. On his first play against the Rams, Henne connected with Blackmon on a 39-yard play.
"You never can sleep on an NFL team. These are NFL players and they're capable of playing in the NFL," Broncos defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson said. "At the end of the day, we've got to respect that, respect the opponent and know that they're coming in and that they can play ball."
The return of Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey helps a group that has struggled against the pass, to say the least. Denver gave up 506 yards passing last week to Dallas and 362 yards to Eli Manning in Week 2. That equates to the Broncos giving up a league-worst 347.0 yards passing this season.
"We're excited to have Champ back," Fox said. "He's had an outstanding week. Really, this is his first regular-season game to play in this early season. We're excited to watch him and you'd have to ask him, but I'm sure he's excited to play."
The Broncos' defense likely will be without end Robert Ayers (shoulder) and linebacker Wesley Woodyard (neck), but cornerback Chris Harris (concussion) is "all set to go," Fox said.
"Just because they're 0-5 does not mean they can't win this game," Broncos safety Rahim Moore said. "We're not invincible."
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