2013 Record: 13-3-0
Key Additions: LB DeMarcus Ware; CB Aqib Talib; S T.J. Ward; WR Emmanuel Sanders; DL Marvin Austin.
Key Losses: WR Eric Decker; RB Knowshon Moreno; CB Champ Bailey; DL Robert Ayers; WR-KR Trindon Holliday; DE-LB Shaun Phillips; LB Wesley Woodyard; OL Zane Beadles.
HEAD COACH: John Fox
Offense: Peyton Manning.
That name could be all that needs to be said here. But of course, Manning cannot do it by himself, even after shattering the NFL record books last season with 5,477 passing yards and 55 touchdowns with only 10 interceptions.
The running game will see Monte Ball taking over as the primary back in 2014 as Knowshon Moreno, last year's team leader in rushing, left for Miami. Ball ran for 559 yards (4.7 ypc average) and four touchdowns. Ronnie Hillman (218 yards) is also on hand this season.
The wide receivers are among the best in the game and give Manning many targets to choose from, including starters Wes Welker (73 receptions for 778 yards and 10 TD), Demaryius Thomas (92, 1,430, 14 TD and a 15.5 ypc average) and Emmanuel Sanders, who caught 67 passes for 740 yards and six touchdowns with Pittsburgh last season. Andre Caldwell (16, 200, three TD) and rookie Cody Latimer (Indiana) are also available.The tight end is Julius Thomas, who made 65 receptions for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns. Jacob Tamme (20 receptions) and Virgil Green are the backup tight ends.
The line is excellent and is led by center Manny Ramirez, guards Orlando Franklin and Louis Vazquez and tackles Ryan Clady and Chris Clark.
STATS - The Broncos shattered the NFL record books on offense last season, scoring 606 points (38 points per game average) and ranked first in passing as well with 340 yards per game. The running game ranked 15th (117 yards per game) and of course the team was first in overall offense, averaging 457 yards per game. Manning was sacked just 20 times last year.
Defense: Up front in the team's 4-3 set are tackles Terrance Knighton and Sylvester Williams. The ends are DeMarcus Ware (six QB sacks with Dallas last year) and either Malik Jackson (six sacks) or Derek Wolfe.
The linebacking unit has Von Miller (five sacks) and Danny Trevathan (three interceptions) on the outside with either Nate Irving or Jamar Chaney in the middle. Also available is Lerentee McCray, Steven Johnson and L.J. Fort and rookie Lamin Barrow (LSU).
The secondary features corner men Chris Harris (three INT) and Aqib Talib, who made four interceptions with New England last year. Rookie Bradley Roby (Ohio State) was taken in the first round and could challenge Harris for a starting spot during training camp. The safeties are T.J. Ward and Rahim Moore, who had two picks last season. Others looking to contribute are Kayvon Webster, Tony Carter, Quinton Carter, Omar Bolden and Duke Ihenacho.
STATS - The Broncos were 19th overall last year, giving up 356 yards per game. The run defense wasn't bad, allowing 102 yards (7th overall) but the pass defense was weak, giving up 254 yards, which ranked 27th in the NFL, while they sacked opposing quarterbacks 41 times. Denver allowed 25 points per game, which was 22nd overall.
OUTLOOK: It's hard to pick against the Broncos getting back to the Super Bowl once again after the season they had last year. Peyton Manning leads the offense, which should be stellar once again while the defense appears to have made some upgrades in the secondary, which should help improve the pass defense.
Head Coach John Fox knows his team can not only get back to the Super Bowl, but they can also win it this time if they get there. To do that, the Broncos have to be better on defense and not make the same mistakes they did against Seattle in last year's Super Bowl.
When all is said and done and January rolls around, expect the Broncos to win the AFC West again and probably have the home field advantage in the AFC playoffs. A 12-4 record is most likely to happen for the Broncos this season. Once the post-season starts, it's up to them to not just get to the Super Bowl again, but to go out and win it this time around.
Week 1- vs. Indianapolis
Week 2- vs. Kansas City
Week 3- at Seattle
Week 4- BYE WEEK
Week 5- vs. Arizona
Week 6- at NY Jets
Week 7- vs. San Francisco
Week 8- vs. San Diego
Week 9- at New England
Week 10- at Oakland
Week 11- at St. Louis
Week 12- vs. Miami
Week 13- at Kansas City
Week 14- vs. Buffalo
Week 15- at San Diego
Week 16- at Cincinnati
Week 17- vs. Oakland