Denver Broncos RB Melvin Gordon
Sep 14, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III (25) runs the ball on a catch in the fourth quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos will finally take the field in Week 6 against the New England Patriots, but the team will be short-handed with multiple starters set to miss Sunday’s game.

A week after the NFL postponed the originally scheduled Broncos-Patriots game due to New England’s COVID-19 outbreak, additional time off wasn’t enough for Denver to get several impact players back. When the team released its final injury report for Week 6, it was evident just how difficult Sunday’s game will be.

Related: New England Patriots injury report

Denver Broncos injury report: Melvin Gordon ruled out for Week 6

It’s been a difficult week for Gordon. On Tuesday night, Denver’s leading running back was cited for DUI and speeding. He immediately apologized to the organization and will likely face a three-game suspension under the NFL’s rules, but it wasn’t expected to impact his availability for Week 6.

However, the two-time Pro Bowl selection missed practice on Friday with an illness. He was later diagnosed with strep throat and wasn’t allowed to travel with the team to New England. In his absence, Phillip Lindsay is expected to step in as the featured running back. Coming off consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, Lindsay will be an RB2 in fantasy football for Week 6.

Broncos injury news: Noah Fant inactive for Sunday’s game vs. Patriots

Fant has been the go-to weapon in Denver’s offense this season and the team hoped he would play an integral role against the Patriots. Unfortunately, an ankle injury has ruined those plans. The 22-year-old tight end was carted off in Week 4 with the injury, but hoped to not miss any time.

Even after a week to rest, Fant’s ankle didn’t make enough progress. While he participated in practice on a limited basis all three days this week, the Broncos downgraded him from questionable to out on Saturday. As a result, an offense missing its No. 1 receiver will also be without its second-best weapon in the passing game. In his absence, Nick Vannett and rookie Albert Okwuegbunam should see additional steps. However, no Broncos’ tight end is worth playing in fantasy football.

NFL injury report: Broncos QB Drew Lock questionable for Week 6

Fortunately, there is some good news for the Broncos on the injury front. A few weeks after suffering a sprained AC joint, Lock is expected to return to the lineup for Week 6. While he is listed as questionable, head coach Vic Fangio made it clear that Denver’s starting quarterback will likely be out there against the Patriots.

It’s not exactly the perfect situation for a return. Not only will Lock face a strong defense, but he will do so without key weapons. With Gordon, Fant and Courtland Sutton all sidelined, the Broncos’ offense will be without its three best offensive weapons. Furthermore, rookie receiver KJ Hamler will also miss Sunday’s game. This is a disastrous situation for Lock and it would be stunning if he even played adequately.

NFL defense rankings: Top-20 defenses entering Week 6

Denver Broncos 2020 schedule:

  • Week 6: at New England Patriots
  • Week 7: vs. Kansas City Chiefs
  • Week 8: vs. Los Angeles Chargers
  • Week 9: at Atlanta Falcons

NFL schedule: Predictions for every Week 6 game

Matt Johnson
Writer at Sportsnaut. Journalism student at San Diego State University. Seen on MSN. Previously: eDraft, The Connection