The Denver Broncos fought hard in the 2021-22 campaign, but the AFC West wound up being arguably the best division in the NFL. With a 7-10 finish, the Broncos discovered the areas in which they desperately need improvement but also saw a lot of positives that they’ll be able to carry into next year.
Offensively, it was the running game that verily caught the eye of a regular football pundit throughout the season. The talented veteran Melvin Gordon and rookie ball carrier Javonte Williams kept Denver’s ability to score points somewhat intact, while quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock posed an arid threat to opponents.
Gordon and Bridgewater are both unrestricted free agents this offseason, so it’ll be interesting to see exactly what the future holds for the offense. And with cornerbacks Kyle Fuller, Bryce Callahan, strong safety Kareem Jackson, defensive end Stephen Weatherly and inside linebacker A.J. Johnson all set to hit free agency, the defense also won’t be overlooked by the organization.
Super Bowl odds: +2200
The Broncos kicked off the last year with a 3-0 record, but various injuries prevented them from reaching their expectations. With Vic Fangio fired following his third season, newly hired head coach Nathaniel Hackett hopes that his offensive knowledge translates to immediate success. The defense has been the least of this team’s worries in recent history. Denver has a noticeably sound unit, starting with cornerback Patrick Surtain Jr. and outside linebacker Bradley Chubb, who was limited to just seven games last season because of injuries. Super Bowl predictions seem a tad far-fetched at the moment, but this is one of the more exciting teams to monitor heading into the 2022-23 season.
Conference odds: +1100
It’s very possible the Broncos may have had a different outcome if it weren’t for their players getting dinged up all year. The uncertainty at the quarterback position was one of the main culprits that kept them barred from playoff conversation, and the organization trading Von Miller definitely left a huge gap in their pass rush at the season’s midpoint. The Broncos haven’t been back to the AFC championship since they were crowned winners in 2015, but the right quarterback acquisition this offseason could swing them into contending form.
Division odds: +450
On paper, a receiving unit spearheaded by names like Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick and KJ Hamler should spark something in the brain that makes you believe this team could turn around and win the AFC West again in a hurry. But let’s pump the breaks for a minute. The Kansas City Chiefs are still going to be very difficult to overthrow as kings in this division. The only true caveat about them is essentially that their star players are all going to be one year older.
The Las Vegas Raiders are coming off an unprecedented campaign where they lost a head coach and star player, to still finish with a 10-7 record. And the Los Angeles Chargers were one of the league’s best offenses last regular season. The Broncos are in the midst of both figuring out how to keep their stout defense together, and on a desperate quarterback hunt. Therein lies the tragedy.
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