*As the Washington Redskins get closer to the start of another season, Redskins.com will preview all 16 of the team's regular season games. Today is the Week 16 matchup with the Denver Broncos. *
*The Redskins take on the Broncos for just the fifth time this century in a game that will likely have heavy playoff implications.
Denver's Key Additions: Signed OG Ronald Leary (Cowboys), signed DT Domata Peko (Bengals), signed OT Menelik Watson (Raiders), signed DL Zach Kerr (Colts), drafted OT Garrett Bolles (Utah), drafted DL DeMarcus Walker (Florida State), hired head coach Vance Joseph (Dolphins).
Denver's Key Subtractions: Head Coach Gary Kubiak (retirement), OT Russell Okung (Chargers), OLB DeMarcus Ware (retirement), NT Sylvester Williams (Titans).
The Redskins will look to make it a Merry Christmas Eve when they host the Broncos on a Sunday afternoon from FedExField. With a New Years Eve matchup against the New York Giants looming in Week 17, the home finale for Washington against Denver will likely be key in the Redskins making the playoffs.
There isn't much of a history between the two teams as they've met just 13 times beginning with the first meeting back in 1970. The most notable, however, is Washington's demolition of the Broncos in Super Bowl XXII – a 42-10 victory for the burgundy and gold that included a 35-point second quarter. The two teams have split four meetings this century.
The Broncos have been one of the NFL's most interesting rosters to follow since winning the Super Bowl two seasons ago. Denver's run of five straight playoff appearances was snapped last season as the Broncos struggled to find consistent quarterback play. In what was head coach Gary Kubiak's final season, the Broncos dropped four of their final six games.
Denver ranked in the bottom third of the NFL in completion percentage, sacks allowed and passer rating. Trevor Siemian started 14 games at quarterback last season, but 2016 draft pick Paxton Lynch likely will battle him for the starting spot in 2017. Plenty could change at the league's most important position for Denver by Week 16.
Despite the struggles at quarterback, the Broncos' defense remains one of the league's best. Denver allowed the fourth-fewest points in the NFL last season and led the league in yards allowed per play (4.7). Outside linebacker Von Miller remains the key to Denver's attack as he notched his third First Team All-Pro selection last season in just his sixth year in the league.
Now in charge of the Broncos is first-year head coach Vance Joseph, who is coming off just one season as the defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins. Joseph, a defensive back himself, has coached DBs in San Francisco, Houston and Cincinnati.
The Redskins offensive line will likely have its hands full with Denver, which registered the third-most sacks in the NFL last season. However, pass protection is an area the Redskins have excelled, allowing just 23 sacks last season – fourth-fewest in the NFL.
As a unit, Denver's defense allowed less than 3,000 yards passing and just 13 touchdowns while intercepting 14 passes. It will certainly be strength versus strength when Washington goes to the air on offense.
2017 Season Previews: