What will Sean Payton’s Broncos record be at the Week 9 bye?

Parker Gabriel, Broncos beat reporter

Life’s swell up in Boulder, where Deion Sanders and his guys find themselves 3-0 and ranked No. 19 in the country. Nobody saw that one coming, but we’re seeing it now — by the millions. You know another thing we didn’t see? An 0-2 start for Sean Payton’s Broncos. None of us thought this was a great team, but if I’m not mistaken, all three of us picked Denver to win each of its first two games. So, let’s give the prognosticating another try. How many wins will Payton’s team have when its Week 9 bye rolls around? The schedule from here: at Miami, at Chicago, vs. the Aaron Rodgers-less New York Jets, at Kansas City (Thursday night), vs. Green Bay and at Kansas City.

I can see maybe a 2-6. The Bears aren’t good, and a split between Rodgers’ old team and his new one — neither of whom he’s playing for after tearing his Achilles — seems attainable. That’s not great, but 1-7 would be a recipe for trading anything not bolted down and jumping in the tank. What say you guys?

Ryan McFadden, Broncos beat reporter

The Broncos should be 2-0, but due to their defensive struggles and inability to close out games, it’s the other way around. Based off of what we have seen thus far, there’s a good chance Denver will be 3-5 by Week 9. Unless their defense improves, it’s hard to see the Broncos knocking off the Dolphins and the Chiefs. The Bears are terrible and I can see the Broncos beating the Packers and Jets, especially with quarterback Zach Wilson as New York’s starter. I guess I’m a little more optimistic.

Sean Keeler, sports columnist

I’ll see your 2-6 and raise you a 3-14. As in, over the Broncos’ last 17 games decided by six points or fewer, that’s their record. Three. Stinking. Wins. And that’s 17 losses under three different coaches: Uncle Vic Fangio (0-5), Huggy Bear Nathaniel Hackett (3-7) and Sunshine Sean Payton (0-2). The point? This team just doesn’t know how to win anymore. Veterans such as Justin Simmons, courteous to the last, are tired of answering the same dang questions week after week. Young guys appear proud of the moral victories — see Mary, Hail — eked out at the end, after a game’s already fallen out of reach. I covered the pre-Marvin Lewis Bengals of the early ’00s, fellas. They stunk. This feels exactly the same. Let’s say 1-7, with a win over the Jets because Zach “Deer in Headlights” Wilson and Huggy Bear deserve each other.

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