5 Reasons the Denver Broncos Will Miss the Playoffs in 2012
The Denver Broncos shocked the world by making the playoffs, and even winning a playoff game, last season. This year though, they’ll be lucky to finish at 8-8. A record of 7-9 or 6-10 is highly likely. Here are five reasons why the Broncos will disappoint in 2012.
1. THE SCHEDULE
The Broncos have the toughest schedule in the AFC, facing teams that had a combined 2011 win-loss record of 139-117 (.543).Not including Denver’s games against their AFC West foes, their 2012 opponents were a whopping 93-67 (.581) in 2011. To compare, the 2011 Carolina Panthers, who have had the toughest strength of schedule of the past three seasons, faced teams with a combined winning percentage of .555.
Outside of the AFC West, the Broncos have home games against the Steelers (Week 1), Texans (Week 3), Saints (Week 8), Bucs (Week 13), and Browns (Week 16).
The Steelers will be geared up to crush the Broncos after being upset by the Tebow-led Broncos in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs last season. The Texans look to be one of the best teams in the conference. And the Saints, despite all their offseason troubles, are still a playoff-caliber team with the second best quarterback in football.
The Broncos won’t have things any easier on the road with games against the Falcons (Week 2), Patriots (Week 5), Bengals (Week 9), Panthers (Week 10), and Ravens (Week 15). That’s four 2011 playoff teams and a Cam Newton-led Panthers squad that will be competitive in 2012.
In total, 7 of Denver’s 10 non-divisional games are against 2011 playoff teams. The schedule-makers weren’t too kind when it comes to the order of the Broncos’ games either.
After opening home against the Steelers, the Broncos travel to Atlanta, return home for games against the Texans and Raiders, then head to New England and San Diego. By their Week 7 bye, they could easily be 1-5. Returning from their bye with a bang isn’t likely since their next two games are home against the Saints and in Cincinnati.
2. PEYTON MANNING WILL NOT BE PEYTON MANNINGThe Denver Broncos didn’t get the Indianapolis Colts’ Peyton Manning that annihilated opposing defenses with pinpoint accuracy and precision before missing the 2011 Season. They got a 36-year old quarterback who sat out an entire season with a nerve injury in his neck.
While it’s reported that Manning is zipping footballs around like he used to, the real test will be seeing how he responds when he’s slammed to the turf during an actual NFL game. Then, seeing how he responds when he’s sacked again. And again. And again. And again.
No matter how tough Manning is and how much he wants to succeed, he simply will not be the same quarterback he was before being forced to undergo four neck procedures.
Manning might be good, most likely even above-average, but it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to carry his team like the NFL’s best QBs, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady, do.