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Here's why Week 4 vs. Jacksonville is a tipping-point game for the winless Broncos

The Broncos' Week 4 matchup is replete with urgency and implications for both the short- and long-term.

When was the last time the Denver Broncos went 0-4 to start the season? You have to go all the way back to 1999, the year after John Elway retired and the team handed the QB reigns over to their third-round pick, Brian Griese. 

Denver went on to finish the season going 6-10 and (of course) missed the playoffs.

Unfortunately, this 2019 team faces a similar fate as the 1-2 Jacksonville Jaguars, led by rookie Gardner Minshew, will come to Empower Field at Mile High this Sunday to challenge the winless Broncos.

It's only the fourth week of the regular season, but you have to think that a loss at home to a Jaguars team playing their backup sixth-round rookie could be a tipping point to a team that is rocking a 12-27 record dating back to the end of the 2016 season.

Sitting at 0-3, Broncos Country has become more divided than I can remember in a very long time. You've got a large segment of the fanbase who is ready to commit to a full rebuild, including drastic moves such as trading off Bronco lifers such as Von Miller and Chris Harris, JR.. 

Within that same group, you also have a chunk of fans who are also ready to move on from franchise legend John Elway as the GM (which if we are being honest, is unlikely to happen anytime soon).

Then you've got the other side of the spectrum, where some fans still believe this team has the players to be successful, and the first three weeks were just growing pains that were to be expected with a new coaching staff, scheme, and starting QB.

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I appreciate the optimism by these fans and they are right in some ways. Yes, this team has a lot of very good players. There is a lot of young talent that will be part of this 'core' for the near future.

But...

If the Broncos end up 0-4 after this week, how can you still remain optimistic about the rest of the 2019 season?

As I wrote about numerous times this offseason, the Broncos' remaining schedule slams the door on the chance of any rebound after an 0-4 start. If they are unable to beat a team like the Jaguars at home against their backup GB, who can they beat the rest of this season? Just look at their remaining opponents:

  • W5: @ Chargers
  • W6: vs. Titans
  • W7: vs. Chiefs
  • W8: @ Colts
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  • W9: vs. Browns
  • W10: BYE
  • W11: vs. Vikings
  • W12: @ Bills
  • W13: vs. Chargers
  • W14: @ Texans
  • W15: @ Chiefs
  • W16: vs. Lions
  • W17: vs. Raiders

Again, which of these games are winnable? The only ones I see are the Titans, Raiders, and maybe the Lions or Browns? So you're talking about a 4-12 season, at best?

One of the most frustrating things about this team since winning Super Bowl 50 is that the front office hasn't had a clear direction of where they want to take the team. They have been stuck in the 'retool to compete now' attitude, avoiding a complete 'rebuilt' at all costs. 

In some ways, a win this week that brings the Broncos to 1-3 still keeps some modest hope that the 2019 season is not a complete loss. Maybe a 1-3 record keeps the 'win now' argument on life support a little longer.

Unfortunately, you are just delaying the inevitable.

Is a 0-4 start to the season what it will take to force Elway and this front office to finally accept that a complete 'rebuild' is necessary?

Needless to say, the outcome of this game against Jacksonville could very well signal what's next to come for this franchise — not only for the rest of the 2019 season — but also the next 2-3 years.

Follow Trevor on Twitter @TrevorJudge and @MileHighHuddle.