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ESPN: Why the Broncos are a Super Bowl Contender

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  • ESPN: Why the Broncos are a Super Bowl Contender

    Article by Jeff Legwold: (If this needs to be moved, feel free.)

    The Denver Broncos are one of six undefeated teams in the NFL. How good are the Broncos? Here’s a closer look:

    Super Bowl Contender or Pretender: The Broncos are a title contender based on the speed and power of their defense. After Sunday’s games, they are No. 1 in total defense, No. 1 in sacks, No. 1 in pass defense, No. 1 in third-down defense, No. 2 in points allowed and No. 7 in run defense. The Broncos also have shown at least some early signs of shaking loose on offense; if they can find a way to do that, they will be on the short list of championship hopefuls.

    Reason to be excited: Injuries are always an enormous concern in projecting any title chances, but the Broncos’ defensive depth is well worth a double take. They played 20 different players for at least two snaps on defense in a Week 3 win over the Detroit Lions, then played 19 players on defense in their win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Against the Vikings, seven different players contributed to their seven sacks.

    Reason to be concerned: The Broncos have shown more glimpses of what they believe the offense can be over the last two weeks: Quarterback Peyton Manning had his first 300-yard passing game in Week 3, and Ronnie Hillman had the team's first 100-yard rushing game in Week 4. But Manning has already been sacked 10 times behind a retooled offensive line and has thrown five interceptions. Four of those interceptions have led to points for their opponents -- two were returned for touchdowns, while the Vikings followed Manning’s two interceptions Sunday with drives for a touchdown and a field goal.

    What the schedule tells us: According to ESPN's Football Power Index, the Broncos have an 8.4 percent chance to win the Super Bowl -- sixth highest in the league -- but everybody is going to get a good look at where things really stand in November. The Broncos have two road games remaining in October -- at Oakland and at Cleveland -- before their bye week. But on Nov. 1, the Green Bay Packers come to Denver, then the New England Patriots visit Nov. 29. Also that month, the Broncos have games against Indianapolis, Kansas City and Chicago. According to the ESPN's Football Power Index, the Broncos have a 90.5 percent to make the playoffs and a 83.4 percent chance to win the AFC West.
    What are your thoughts on this?

  • #2
    I think all things being equal the critiques are pretty balanced and the praise is well deserved.


    • #3
      I like our Odds!!!


      • #4
        Sounds about right.

        Four of the six games before the bye are on the road which means four of the ten games after the bye are on the road: at Indianapolis; at Chicago; at San Diego; and at Pittsburgh. None of the road games are consecutive.

        The only non-Sunday game is Monday Night, 28 December at home vs. Cincinnati. The only road games not at the regular time are early games at Cleveland and Chicago. The home games against Green Bay and New England* are Sunday Night games.

        The most difficult games after the bye are home games against Green Bay, New England* and Cincinnati.

        By week 8, Denver's O-Line should be fully coordinated and actually have some quality depth developed with the emergence of Michael Schofield, Harris' versatility and Garcia's availability.

        If Manning needs a break before the end of the season, the December 13 home game against the Raiders might be a good time to start Brock Osweiler. A lot of effort has gone into preparing him to come off the bench at a moment's notice. Getting a start under his belt might be a good idea looking ahead to the single elimination of the playoffs.

        Currently, Denver is two games ahead of Oakland and San Diego and three games ahead of KC.

        Oakland has yet to play a division game; all six remain. They still have Pittsburgh, Detroit and Tennessee on the road and NYJ, Minnesota and Green Bay at home.

        San Diego also has yet to play a division game; all six remain. They still have Green Bay, Baltimore and Jacksonville on the road and Pittsburgh, Chicago and Miami at home.

        KC has one division loss at home, so they have two division home and three division road games left. They still have Minnesota and Baltimore on the road and Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Buffalo and Cleveland at home.

        Denver's odds of winning a fifth consecutive division title look good. Their schedule gives them a good chance of gaining a first round bye in the playoffs. If they can find a way of defeating those three most difficult opponents at home, they could conceivably obtain home field advantage.

        Denver's deep defense gives them the luxury of resting injured players along the way. Great defenses travel well and can pose an insurmountable obstacle when at home, even against the most potent opposing offenses.

        The NFC and AFC North plus first place schedule are tough which is good for developing young players and providing a weekly sense of urgency.

        Denver's depth plus a quality Practice Squad provide Scout Team with the personnel to give the starters a really good look in the limited weekly practice time. Denver has a truly excellent coaching staff which is completely in synch with the Front Office. There is cause for optimism.
        "Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes." ~ Publilius Syrus


        • #5
          I think it's a fair assessment and I was glad to learn we've had so many different players on the field for defense. If we can focus and take care of business in Oakland we could easily find ourselves up by 3 games in the division after 5 weeks. I doubt any one of us would have realistically envisioned that great of a start

          And I agree that starting Oz in that late season raider game would be a fantastic idea...both for his experience and to give Peyton a virtual 2nd season bye week to keep those 39 yr old bones ready for the end of season push into the playoffs. I can't be happier after 4 weeks in!
          "There is no plan B. Plan A is to win the Super Bowl" - John Elway
          PLAN A ACCOMPLISHED 2/7/16!!!
          LSU 15-0 2019 BCS Champions...Geaux Tigers :dance:


          • #6
            Definitely worth the read, an anomaly in today's sports reporting world.

            The depth at key defensive positions is so important. This may be the year we finally field a healthy team in the playoffs.


            • #7
              Taking a look at the Broncos schedule ... they play 4 road games in 5 weeks; 2 road games in a row with the Vikings at home and then 2 more road games, fortunately they have the bye coming after that. We could very well be 6-0 going into the bye? But the rest of the schedule should be friendlier considering that they had 4 out 5 weeks on the road you'd think that we would get that in return somewhere in the schedule, but NO. The Broncos play every other week on the road until the last 2 games ... fortunately they do play the best teams here, except for the Colts.

              Considering how things have gone for division opponents and considering their schedule I don't see any of them better than 10-6 record and that might be optimistic for the Chiefs ... looks like a good chance at a 5th AFC West title in a row.