NFL Preview- Denver Broncos
Let's wrap up the AFC and head West. First up, the defending AFC Champion Denver Broncos. Coach John Fox returns with another high-powered offensive attack and an expected vastly-improved defense. The Broncos are looking to get back to the Super Bowl this year, with hopes of winning it all.
Even at 38, Peyton Manning remains one of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL. Denver knows they are set at QB this year, and probably even next year-- Denver still hopes to prepare Brock Osweiler as the QB of the future. Manning may not have the record year he had a year ago, but he will still put up impressive numbers this season.
At wide receiver, Manning has a plethora of options to go to. Denver may have lost Eric Decker in free agency, but they added Emmanuel Sanders from Pittsburgh. Top choice, Demaryius Thomas is primed for another big year, as does Wes Welker. Julius Thomas returns at tight end, where he will again be one of the top TEs in the NFL this year.
At running back, Knowshon Moreno departed for Miami, so Montee Ball is set to become the number one back-- which was Denver's intention when they drafted him a year ago. Ronnie Hillman returns as a second option that be very viable if he can fix his fumbling issues.
On defense, Von Miller received the gift of DeMarcus Ware to bookend the pass rush and provide the pressure on opposing QBs. They hope Danny Trevathan can get healthy at linebacker, and Brandon Marshall (not that one) develops into the top notch LB the Broncos think he can be. Terrance Knighton returns to plug the middle of the line. Aqib Talib was brought to help solidify a defensive backfield that was beat up and gave up too many big plays last year.
Here's how 2014 looks for the Broncos:
Week 1- Denver opens up at home against a tough Indianapolis. The Broncos get payback from their visit to Indy last season and begin 1-0.
Week 2- The Broncos stay home to take division foe Kansas City. While the Chiefs will play them tough, Denver still wins. Broncos are now 2-0.
Week 3- They head to Seattle for the Super Bowl rematch. The Legion of Boom dominates at home; Denver drops to 2-1.
Week 4- Early bye week for Denver.
Week 5- Another tough game when Arizona visits. Denver survives and gets to 3-1.
Week 6- Broncos head to Northern Jersey and visit the Jets. They get to 4-1.
Week 7- They host the 49ers. San Fran brings a tough defense but Manning still gets the win late. Broncos improve to 5-1.
Week 8- They host the Chargers on Thursday Night. Phillip Rivers finds a way to pull of the upset. They fall to 5-2.
Week 9- Denver next heads to New England to face Tom Brady and company. A tough loss on the road. Denver now 5-3.
Week 10- They head to Oakland to provide a beat-down to their bitter rivals. They get to 6-3.
Week 11- They head to St. Louis next and struggle against a fierce pass rush but find a way to get the win. They get to 7-3.
Week 12- They host Miami and it is a long day for Moreno and the Dolphins. Broncos improve to 8-3.
Week 13- They next head to Kansas City for the return game. Chiefs find a way to earn the split. Denver falls to 8-4.
Week 14- Denver hosts Buffalo and again win big. They get to 9-4.
Week 15- They head to San Diego and get payback for the loss earlier in the year. Broncos stand at 10-4.
Week 16- They face a tough Bengals defense in Cincinnati, but find a way to get the tough win. They improve to 11-4.
Week 17- They host Oakland and get to 12-4 to win the division and again earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Broncos are easily the most talented team in the AFC. Manning will once again lead the best offense in the NFL. They have the talent to go 14-2, but 12-4 looks more realistic.