The Broncos are a tad overrated.
There, I said it. I know I am in the minority and I know I will catch a lot of grief over making that statement. But, I can’t hold it in anymore. Something had to be said.
I’m not trying to purposely ruffle feathers or start an argument for the sake of starting one. I just can’t see the mainstream love of this team.
Maybe it’s because of Peyton Manning or the run they went on last year that was miraculously shattered by the Baltimore Ravens in the second round of the playoffs.
But, when you look at this team besides the passing offense, what is there?
Before I continue down this road where I am sure I will encounter a few diversions, I will say this: I do believe Denver wins their division and they will be a good regular season team.
Some of it is based on the personnel they currently have and some of it is based on the Broncos' schedule. The Broncos are a good team. I just don’t see them being the top team and a heavy Super Bowl favorite.
Now that I said they’re a good team, this is why I believe they shouldn’t be the favorites to win the Super Bowl.
First, besides their passing attack that consists of Manning, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, and Wes Welker, who else do they have? They are counting on rookie Montee Ball to shore up their running attack, but that in itself is a risk.
Ball was used heavily at Wisconsin and even though he never suffered a major injury, could that wear and tear start to affect him? Especially since he will be playing 16-game regular season schedule? Only time will tell, but counting on a second round draft pick to be able to help out in a Peyton Manning led offense will be difficult for any rookie.
The Broncos also suffered a major injury on their offensive line when center Dan Koppen suffered a season-ending ACL injury. Granted, while they still have a decent offensive line lead by left tackle Ryan Clady, losing your center in a Peyton Manning lead offense is critical. Manning makes a ton of adjustments and audibles and when you mix that in with the no huddle offense, it could be problematic from the beginning.
Moving to the defensive side of the ball is where we could really see the faults of this Denver Broncos team. Starting with the pass rush, they lost defensive end Elvis Dumervil this offseason due to a fax machine (ok that was a lame attempt at a joke) to the Baltimore Ravens, and linebacker Von Miller is suspended for the first six games this year.
Between Dumervil and Miller, that’s half the Broncos' sacks from a season ago. Behind those two, the Broncos don’t have much of a pass rush. They will count on guys like Robert Ayers, Shaun Phillips, and Nate Irving to fill the void left by Dumervil and Miller.
Even when Miller comes back, how long will it take him to get into game shape? And who is going to help him with the pass rush like Dumervil did? Too many unknowns. The pass rush will definitely be down this year and thats something the Broncos and their aging secondary can't afford.
Speaking of the secondary, if you boil it down, the secondary cost the Broncos the game against the Ravens in last year’s playoffs. Champ Bailey is not the same Champ Bailey as he was a few seasons ago and at age 35, his career is starting to come to a close.
He has obviously lost a step and cannot keep up with speedy, big receivers. Just take a look at last year’s playoff performance against Torrey Smith from the Ravens. The Broncos did bring in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to help with their secondary, but even he has been a bit underachieving since his days in Arizona.
The Broncos have a good enough team to win their division and make the playoffs. Their schedule this year also helps them out as they face the AFC South and NFC East. The Broncos should sweep the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers, split with the improved Kansas City Chiefs, and have wins against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, and Philadelphia Eagles.
That’s already nine wins for the Broncos. But once they hit the playoffs, they could be singing a different tune. Manning has been in this type of position before where he himself has had to carry teams to the postseason. But can he do it again at his age? Can he make this team a Super Bowl Champion? I usually never bet against Peyton Manning. But this year, I can’t jump on that wagon.