Head Coach: John Fox
2012 Record: 13-3-0 (1st in AFC West)
New Players: WR Wes Welker; CB Quentin Jammer; LB Shaun Phillips; CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie; DL Terrance Knighton; OL Louis Vasquez.
Gone Elsewhere: DL Elvis Dumervil; RB Willis McGahee; WR Brandon Stokley; CB Tracy Porter; DL Jason Hunter; S Jim Leonhard; LB D.J. Williams.
Offense: The Broncos were 4th in the NFL in total offense last season, averaging 398 yards per game (115 rushing and 283 passing) with quarterback Peyton Manning leading the way.
Manning threw for 4,659 yards with 37 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while showing no real ill effects from multiple neck surgeries that kept him out for the entire 2011 season.
|QB Peyton Manning|
In addition to Welker, Denver has Demaryius Thomas (94, 1,434, ten TD) and Eric Decker, who had 85 receptions for 1,064 yards and 13 touchdowns. The tight end combination of Joel Dreesen (41, 356, five TD) and Jacob Tamme (52, 555, two TD) is solid.
The running game will be tweaked with rookie Montee Ball (Wisconsin) set to join Knowshon Moreno (525 rushing yards and four TD) and Ronnie Hillman (330 yards and one TD) as the primary backs following the departure of Willis McGahee, the team's leading rusher the past two seasons.
The O-Line is solid, allowing just 21 QB sacks last year while keeping the team respectable in the running game. The center is J.D. Walton, the guards are Zane Beadles and Louis Vasquez and the tackles will be Ryan Clady and Orlando Franklin.
Defense: The Broncos will be without their best defensive player, linebacker Von Miller for the first six games while he serves a league mandated suspension.
That being said, the team also no longer has Elvis Dumervil, who went to Baltimore in the off-season. Miller had 18 1/2 quarterback sacks last season and will be missed with the first six games featuring some tough opponents.
Playing up front in the team's 4-3 set are ends Robert Ayers and Derek Wolfe (six sacks) along with tackle
|Broncos LB Von Miller|
The linebacking unit will be led by Miller on the outside along with Wesley Woodyard (5 1/2 sacks and three interceptions) and middle linebacker Nate Irving.
In the secondary are veterans Champ Bailey and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie at the corners while Rahim Moore and Mike Adams are the safties. Chris Harris (three picks) and Quentin Jammer (three INT with San Diego in 2012) add depth to the secondary.
The Broncos finished tied for the league lead with 52 QB sacks last year while finishing second in the NFL in total defense, allowing 291 yards a game. They were third overall against both the run (91 yards allowed per game) and pass (200 yards allowed) while giving up 289 points, which ranked fourth in the league.
OUTLOOK: After finishing the regular season 13-3, the bitter taste of a first game (Divisional Round) playoff defeat to Baltimore in overtime will be a motivating factor for the Broncos entering the 2013 season.
With Peyton Manning leading a high powered offense, expect the Broncos to light up the scoreboard once again after finishing second in the NFL last year in scoring with 481 points.
The running game was productive last year to go with the high octane offense that Manning likes to run. It will be interesting to see how the running attack is this year with some of the changes made in the off-season.
On defense, the team has to overcome the loss of Von Miller for the first six games. There is plenty of talent here to hold the fort until Miller serves the suspension. The big question will be whether the Broncos can muster up the fierce pass rush they had last year with Miller out and Elvis Dumervil no longer on the team.
As long as Manning stays healthy and the Broncos continue to pile up the yardage and points each week, they will be a force to be reckoned with and Head Coach John Fox knows this very well.
A 12-4 season looks to be in order for the Broncos this season as they appear to once again be head and shoulders above the rest of the AFC West.
Once the playoffs begin, they (and Manning in particular) must forget about last year's collapse in the final minute of regulation when they allowed the Baltimore Ravens to steal the game from them which eventually ended in a double overtime loss.
The time is now for the Broncos and they know it... now they must go out and prove it.
Sept. 5- vs. Baltimore
Sept. 15- at NY Giants
Sept. 23- vs. Oakland
Sept. 29- vs. Philadelphia
Oct. 6- at Dallas
Oct. 13- vs. Jacksonville
Oct. 20- at Indianapolis
Oct. 27- vs. Washington
Nov. 3- BYE WEEK
Nov. 10- at San Diego
Nov. 17- vs. Kansas City
Nov. 24- at New England
Dec. 1- at Kansas City
Dec. 8- vs. Tennessee
Dec. 12- vs. San Diego
Dec. 22- at Houston
Dec. 29- at Oakland