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Week 14 opponent: What the Broncos are saying

The Lions fly out west this weekend to Denver to take on the Broncos (6-6). The Lions are looking to notch two straight wins after beating Minnesota, 29-27, in walk-off fashion Sunday at Ford Field. The Broncos are looking for a bounce-back performance after falling to Kansas City, 22-9.

Here's what the Broncos are talking about ahead of this weekend's intraconference matchup:

1. Veteran running back Melvin Gordon III returned to practice Wednesday after missing Sunday's game against the Chiefs due to a shoulder injury. Gordon and Javonte Williams have formed a nice running back tandem for Denver, each having rushed for more than 600 yards on the season. Williams is averaging 4.8 yards per carry and Gordon is averaging 4.5 yards per carry.

"I think they've been a good tandem the first 11 games of the season sharing the time in there," Broncos head coach Vic Fangio said Monday. "I think it's helped both guys. I think it helped Javonte (Sunday) carry more of the load. They're two good players, and we'll use them both."

View photos of the starters for the Denver Broncos.

2. Teddy Bridgewater was a backup quarterback under then assistant head coach and tight ends coach Dan Campbell in New Orleans in 2018-19. Bridgewater told Mike Klis of 9News he wasn't surprised Campbell got the job in Detroit.

"His energy in contagious," Bridgewater said. "I'm pretty sure those players in Detroit love playing for him. I was able to spend those two years in New Orleans and the things he was able to do with those tight ends in that room, and then when he stood up in front of the team and talked, you were ready to just storm out of that meeting and punch a guy in the face for no reason. Dan is awesome."

3. Fangio said it's a real emphasis in Denver over their last five games, starting Sunday vs. Detroit, to figure out a way to be more dynamic on offense and score more points. Denver enters this week ranked 23rd in points per game (19.8) and 20th in total offense (343.9). Fangio specifically called out his passing attack. Denver's 31 catches of at least 20 yards are the sixth fewest in the NFL.

4. Denver lost the game Sunday, but did hold an explosive Chiefs' offense to just 16 points (KC had a 75-yard INT return TD) and 267 total yards of offense. Broncos outside linebacker Malik Reed told it's a performance to build on, despite the loss. Denver's defense is allowing the third fewest points in the NFL this season.

5. At 6-6, the Broncos are very much in the thick of the AFC playoff picture with five games remaining. The Bills are currently the third wild card in the AFC with a 7-5 record. Reed said he and his teammates have a mentality that the playoffs have already started for them. He said they are treating Sunday's game against Detroit like a playoff game because they know their margin for error down the stretch is razor thin.

6. Asked what jumped out on tape preparing for the Lions, Fangio said: "They are playing really hard and physical. They are running the ball really well. They're doing a good job mixing play-action passing and (Jared) Goff's down-field throwing. They have a good screen game. And their defense is playing really good. They are a really good football team when you watch these last four or five games that they've played."

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