The Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins are both only a few plays away from having wildly different starts to the 2023 NFL season.
Denver is 0-2, losing its first two games under head coach Sean Payton by a combined three points. The Broncos trailed the Washington Commanders by 11 points in the fourth quarter of Week 2, but quarterback Russell Wilson’s 50-yard Hail Mary pass for a touchdown as time expired delivered unlikely hope to Denver.
That quickly disappeared. After losing by one point in Week 1, Denver failed on its two-point conversion attempt to lose 35-33 in Week 2. The Broncos are one of the league’s eight 0-2 teams despite leading 21-3 in the second quarter against the Commanders.
Miami has fared much better in close games this season. Miami held off a New England Patriots comeback to win 24-17 last weekend. That came after a two-point win over the Los Angeles Chargers to open the new campaign. Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is healthy after an injury-filled 2022 and leads the NFL with 715 passing yards through two games. Tagovailoa moved ahead of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes as the current MVP favorite in the eyes of many sportsbooks.
BetMGM, FanDuel and DraftKings are among the books giving Tagovailoa the best odds to win the award as of Tuesday. Mahomes has the second-best odds at each sportsbook.
Week 3’s matchup between these two AFC teams will determine if the Broncos can break through for their first win of the season, or if the Dolphins will remain undefeated. Here’s a look at what else fans should know before Sunday.
TV, Streaming Information for Broncos-Dolphins
The Broncos-Dolphins game is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. ET Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The game will air on CBS for fans in both markets. Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Trent Green (analyst) will be on the call.
Fans wishing to stream the game can do so via NFL+, Fubo or the NFL Sunday Ticket package.
Is Jaylen Waddle Going to Play?
Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle form perhaps the best wide receiver duo in the NFL. But one half of that duo may not be on the field in Week 3.
Waddle left Sunday night’s game against the Patriots late in the fourth quarter after taking a big hit from linebacker Marte Mapu while attempting to catch a pass. Waddle did not return to the game. Mapu was penalized for the violent hit. Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel confirmed at a press conference Monday that Waddle is in concussion protocol.
“We’ll move forward,” McDaniel said. “He already started progressing in that process.”
Waddle has eight catches for 164 yards through the first two weeks of the season. The former No. 6 overall pick caught 75 passes for 1,356 yards and eight touchdowns last season, his second in the NFL. The Dolphins will update Waddle’s status on their injury report throughout the week.
Sean Payton Already Making Changes
Former Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett faced criticism for the team’s clock management and penalty issues during his 15 games with the franchise last season.
Two games into his time in Denver, Payton is, too. Along the way to their eventual loss, the Broncos had to use multiple timeouts to avoid penalties and often rushed to the line of scrimmage to get lined up at the last second.
Payton said at a press conference Monday that he and Denver’s other coaches are working to simplify the language of play calls as a potential solution.
“I think, No. 1, the first thing that we always try to look at—but we have to do a better job of as coaches—is reduce the verbiage,” Payton said. “If we have a longer play, then we can easily get to a wristband. We have to reduce the variables.
“I just finished saying this in the team meeting—if we’re making [mental errors] defensively and offensively, we’re having trouble breaking the huddle and getting lined up, then we have to look at if we have too much in [the game plan]. Then, how do we reduce the verbiage at the line of scrimmage, or in the huddle, quite frankly? … That’s going to improve.”
Payton mentioning a wristband could be something to watch for in Week 3. Wilson has rarely worn one throughout his career, though did some last season under Hackett. A quarterback will sometimes wear a wristband with plays or audibles written on it as a way of streamlining play calls during a game. If Wilson takes the field in Miami wearing one this weekend, perhaps the Broncos did make some significant changes.
Betting Odds, Over/Under for Broncos vs. Dolphins
Caesars Sportsbook lists the Dolphins as a 6.5-point favorite over the Broncos, according to a bet available Tuesday afternoon. The over/under on the game is listed at 48 points.