Parker Gabriel, Broncos beat reporter: The bye week is over and Denver’s looking at nine straight games to the finish line. At 3-5, the playoff hopes are slim but have a pulse. The Broncos held at the trade deadline and as such go into the second half of the season with the same group of pass-catchers as the first half. Did you know: The only 100-yard receiving game over the first eight for Denver was Marvin Mims, Jr.’s two catches for 113 against Washington in Week 2? And he’s got two catches for four yards over the past four weeks. Head coach Sean Payton keeps talking about getting him more involved and it keeps not happening. So this week’s question is simple: Who leads the Broncos in receiving yards over the final nine games? The leaderboard right now goes Courtland Sutton (380), Jerry Jeudy (336), Mims (246) and RB Samaje Perine (231). I find myself quite tempted to go way off the board and pick RB Jaleel McLaughlin, another player Payton and company should find more ways to get the ball to down the stretch. Instead, I’ll go with the steadiest of the group in Sutton. Yeah, yeah, he’s the leader right now. Boring. Of the top trio he’s the least likely to go for 175 in a game and the most likely to average 65 per game the rest of the way.
Ryan McFadden, Broncos beat reporter: I’m picking Sutton. Mims’ skill-set gives him the best chance to do it because he covers so much ground on the field, but we are still waiting for the Broncos to fully unleash the rookie wideout. Sutton has been Wilson’s go-to target this season, especially in the red zone. I think that connection will continue for the rest of the year. He is also a player who can make a play on those 50/50 balls. Out of everyone on the roster, I feel like Sutton is the guy who can average around 60 receiving yards a game.
Before the start of the season, I predicted Sutton to lead the team in receiving yards based on what we saw during training camp. I also predicted Sutton surpassing over 1,000 receiving yards and I don’t think that will happen. Even though Sutton leads the team, there have been times where he has gone ghost on offense because of the lack of targets. He is currently 57th in the league with 46 targets. I badly want to see Mims go off in the final nine games, but Sutton is a safe bet.
Sean Keeler, sports columnist: Ha! That’s easy. No. 10 on your flip card and No. 1 in your heart, baby! (Or, well, maybe No. 3. Or No. 6. Never mind.) I’m hitching my existential wagon to Jerry Jeudy, Denver’s pride and joy, to put the general weirdness of Weeks 1-7 behind him (and us) for a closing kick from outta nowhere. Why? Umm … history? History, yeah. Seriously, did you know, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com, that Jeudy tops Sutton over Weeks 9-18, historically, in catches per game (3.8 for Jeudy, 3.3 for Sutton), receiving yards per game (54.4 for the former, 44.2 for the latter) and catch percentage? Jeudy’s hung on to 60.8% of his post-Week-8 targets, lifetime, while Sutton’s rate is just 53.8%. Sutton’s come around all the right ways in the lead-up to the trade deadline — but now that it’s come and gone and he’s still here, how happy is he to be stuck sailing on the S.S. Payton? It would just feel very, very Jeudy to finish strong, in spite of everything. And, well, everyone.
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