Russell Wilson has been one of the most durable quarterbacks in the NFL since he entered the league in 2012, but he missed last week’s loss to the Jets with a hamstring injury.
Wilson has been working hard to get back on the field for this weekend’s game in London, even bragging about how he was working out in the aisle during the team’s eight-hour flight overseas. Will Wilson be ready to go Sunday, or will Brett Rypien be forced to make another start?
Broncos Starting Quarterback vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Wilson was able to practice Wednesday and Thursday, and coach Nathaniel Hackett formally announced Friday that he would start against the Jaguars. Hackett had said last weekend that Wilson was “trending in the direction” of starting, and it appears his poor plane etiquette might’ve helped keep him on track for a return.
Wilson has struggled mightily this season, but he’s still the best option Denver has. Rypien didn’t impress at all in the Broncos’ Week 7 loss to the Jets. The offense stalled again, managing just nine points in the team’s fourth consecutive loss. If the Broncos are going to snap their losing streak and avoid falling in a 2-6 hole, Wilson will need to play better and prove he’s fully healthy. Wilson previously played through a shoulder issue before suffering the hamstring injury.
Through six starts in Denver, Wilson has completed 58.6% of passes for 1,442 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. He has a passer rating of just 83.4 after finishing with a rating higher than 100 in each of the last four seasons.
Russell Wilson vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Luckily for Wilson, the Jaguars are on the same trajectory as the Broncos. Both of these teams have lost four straight, though Jacksonville’s issues have been a bit different. The Jaguars’ defense struggled badly against Matt Ryan and the Colts in Week 6, and the unit didn’t have a great day against the weapons-needy Giants last week.
Overall, Jacksonville is near the middle of the pack with 6.3 yards allowed per pass attempt and 9 touchdown passes allowed. Teams have beaten the Jaguars through the air. Is Wilson still capable of winning games that way?
Denver Broncos vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Odds
The Jaguars are slight favorites in this neutral site game (though they’ve attracted plenty of fans with their regular trips to London). The Broncos are 2.5-point underdogs and enter at +116 on the moneyline.
With or without Wilson, it’s fair to not believe in the Broncos’ offense. Denver hasn’t shown any signs of progress this season, and Hackett continues to insist he should call offensive plays. The outlook may be better for the Broncos if Javonte Williams was healthy, but the running game has struggled right along with the passing game since he went down.
It’s possible Wilson is healthier than he’s been in weeks and has spent the time off figuring out what’s gone wrong for him this season, so Denver could still be a decent value in a matchup of struggling teams.