There’s high expectations in the Mile-High city after they did the unthinkable and signed the biggest free agent in the offseason, Peyton Manning, to the roster; with a proficient passer behind center, look for the passing game to be more effective and the rushing yards to decrease a little (which isn’t a bad thing). Denver was ranked 30th in converting third downs with Tim Tebow last season, look for that number to get better with manning calling the plays.
The major concern for the Broncos is Peyton’s health. The starting QB is an aging 36 year-old that had four neck surgeries. I don’t question is accuracy and arm strength, I want to know if he can take a hit. The offensive line has to make it their top priority to keep No. 18 clean because if he goes down, Caleb Hanie is next in line, I live in Chicago and I know what he did last year for the Bears and let’s just say it was tragic. With that being said, it is quite easy to say that left tackle Ryan Clady is the X-factor of this team; Clady is Denver’s best offensive lineman and it is his job to block the opponents best pass rushers and understand that if Peyton goes down, so does the season.
Peyton is an expert of the no-huddle passing attack and look for wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker to pile up the passing yards. Manning also like to use two tight ends, so his old teammate from the Indianapolis Colts Jacob Tamme and former Houston Texan Joel Dressen will get plenty of looks.
In order for the play action pass to become effective, Peyton has to inject the run game in the offense. This is where veteran running back Willis McGahee comes into play; now the question is does the 30 year-old pro bowler have enough in the tank to inflict damage to the opposing defense. The Broncos will not be the NFL’s #1 ranked run offense like they were a season ago, but just have to be effective enough for Peyton Manning’s game plan.
The Broncos also made big strides on the defensive side of the ball. They brought in Jack Del Rio as the defensive coordinator and cornerback Tracy Porter was signed to play opposite of Champ Bailey. Pass rushers Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller have to zone in on the opposing QBs from Week 1 because the Broncos has one of the hardest schedules this year and they will be facing Roethlisberger (Steelers), Ryan (Falcons), Schaub (Texans), Palmer (Raiders), Brady (Patriots), and Rivers (Chargers) in the first six games. Free safety Mike Adams and cornerback Chris Harris were also brought in to strengthen the secondary.
The Denver Broncos will having a winning season if Peyton Mannning can be the QB he was five years ago and if his offensive line can keep him upright and healthy throughout the season.
Prediction of Denver Broncos’ season record: 10-6
Written by – Arnold Glass II – AFC West Writer