The Denver Broncos may believe they won the lottery when Peyton Manning signed during the off season. However, the lottery winnings come with a big IF. Manning is coming off surgery on his neck that cost him the entire 2011-12 season and until he has played again on a regular basis, no one knows how well he will do.
Last season, the team made the playoffs even though they started 1-4. The team was led by Tim Tebow at quarterback, from week 7 onwards and won seven of their next eight games. They finished 8-8 and still made the playoffs, showing how even the second tier of teams in the AFC is. As soon as the Broncos signed Manning, they dealt Tebow. He is now a Jet and has another coaching staff wondering how to best use his talents.
On offense last season, they averaged 317 yards a game and 19 points. They led the league in rushing with an average of 165 yards per game. This year the look will be just the opposite: pass first, run second.
Willis McGahee had a good solid rushing season and Knowshon Moreno should get his chance this season. At wide receiver, no big names, but Eric Decker will shine along with Demaryius Thomas and Matt Willis.
The defense was good the last half of the year and was horrible the first half. Look for a solid unit with strong rushers, a solid linebacker unit and a strong secondary with 14-year veteran Champ Bailey teaching the youngsters his tricks.
With Manning, the Broncos will be favored to win the AFC West. They also will be in the top three teams to reach the AFC Championship. However, they have one of the toughest schedules in the AFC West, but should finish on top of the heap. Look for Denver to win at least 10 games in the regular season and play for the AFC Championship.
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