2013 Denver Broncos NFL Team Preview
Betting Odds from 5dimes.com
The Broncos were a botched Peyton Manning pass from winning a double overtime playoff game against Baltimore, and they are the favorite to win the 2014 Superbowl. Manning is in his prime, and he has a host of returning teammates and nice free agent pick ups (Wes Welker, Louis Vasquez, Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie) who will make the Broncos the team to beat in the AFC.
Peyton Manning heads up the offense, which makes the loss of Mike McCoy (former offensive coordinator) a non-factor. Welker’s reception numbers will be high and Eric Decker and DeMaryius Thomas should be able to take the next steps in their respective careers.
Manning will have better options in the backfield this year when he isn’t airing it out. The Broncos drafted the powerful Montee Ball of Wisconsin (and Ohio State before transferring). Ball will share the duties with Wills McGahee, though the veteran is now 32 and certainly on the tail end of his career. Knowshon Moreno turned in consecutive 100 yard games last season, but his season end stats were unimpressive.
It’s not as though many expect the Broncos’ lack of backs to spell their demise this season, though. Ball could very well make this team a dual-threat on offense, and relieve the receiving corps, when he gets rolling.
The defense is predicated upon attack. The Broncos led the league in sacks and finished No. 2 in yardage allowed. Having a strong, attacking defense is the perfect complement to the rugged offense, and the Broncos have a team that is built to blowout opposing NFL squads.
The Broncos are without Dumervil on the line, but they will have ex-Jaguars tackle Terrance Knighton, returning tackle Kevin Vickerson and first-round pick Sylvester Williams. Williams is a 313 pound power packing tackle, and Robert Ayers and Derek Wolfe will also see time. Shaun Phillips will contribute on pass rushes. It’s a deep Bronco defense, and the development of Williams could be what sets it apart from last year’s already good corp.
Champ Bailey is still the man in the Broncos’ secondary, and Bailey has to feel this is his best chance at a Super Bowl. Bailey has remained effective into his mid-30s, but this year constitutes his best chance to win one as a Bronco. Chris Harris and Rodgers-Cromartie will play the right cornerback and nickleback, and last year’s third CB Tony Carter and Omar Bolden will back them up. The depth the Broncos have at this position is exceptional, but that can be said in general at all positions this season.
The Broncos have a great punter in Britton Colquitt, who averaged 42.1 yards per punt, which was tops in the AFC. Trindon Holliday handles returns, and though his hands were unsteady at times, he was exceptional on so many occasions. He became the first player in league history to score on a punt and a kickoff return in the same playoff game. Matt Prater missed seven of his final 23 field goals; and he also shanked on in the playoffs, but he is due to return. Prater will need to start the season out strong or risk losing his job.
The Broncos’ best chance at a title may be this year. The window could be open another season or two, but a team with a star as bright as Manning’s needs to be attuned to its driving force. Peyton makes the Broncos an elite offensive team, and the management has given the Broncos enough “D,” so anything short of an NFL will be a disappointment in the Mile High City.
Be sure to check out Maddux’s picks for this NFL season, as we line our bettors pockets once again in big fashion.