Monday, August 3, 2015

2015 NFL PREVIEW - Denver Broncos

DENVER BRONCOS                                                   

2014 Record: 12-4-0 (1st in AFC West)

HEAD COACH: Gary Kubiak

New Players in 2015 - TE Owen Daniels; DL Antonio Smith; DL Vance Walker; OL Shelley Smith; LB Reggie Walker; DB Darian Stewart.

OFFENSIVE RANK in 2014 - 4th in NFL (402.9 ypg)

DEFENSIVE RANK in 2014 - 3rd in NFL (305.2 ypg)

Offense:  Peyton Manning put up some big numbers again last season, passing for 4,727 yards with 39 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions and is back for his 18th NFL season. Brock Osweiler holds the clipboard once again.
The running game will have C.J. Anderson (849 yards, 4.7 ypc average and eight TD) as the starter this season with Montee Ball (injured for most of 2014 after averaging just 3.1 yards per carry with one score) and Ronnie Hillman (434 yards, 4.1 ypc average, three TD) spelling Anderson.
The main targets for Manning are wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, who caught 101 passes for 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns. Thomas just signed a new contract and is coming off a huge season after making 111 grabs for 1,619 yards and eleven touchdowns.
The tight ends are Owen Daniels (48, 527, four TD with Baltimore in 2014) and Virgil Green, who is a good blocker for the backs.
The O-Line has center Gino Gradkowski, guards Shelley Smith and Louis Vasquez and tackles Ryan Clady and Chris Clark. The Broncos line is stellar, having allowed only 17 sacks a year ago.

Defense: Up front in the 3-4 set are nose tackle Sylvester Williams and ends Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson, who registered thee QB sacks last season. Antonio Smith and Vance Walker and rookie Shane Ray (Missouri) are also available up front.
The linebackers are solid with speed rushers Von Miller (14 sacks) and DeMarcus Ware (ten sacks) on the outside. The middle men are Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan. Reggie Walker and Todd Davis provide depth.
The secondary will have some new faces in 2015 as Darian Stewart and T.J. Ward play the safety spots while Aqib Talib (four interceptions) and Chris Harris (three picks) will be the cornerbacks. Darian Stewart, rookie Lorenzo Doss (Tulane) and Bradley Roby will likely be the primary backups.

OUTLOOK FOR 2015 - After struggling down the stretch last year, QB Peyton Manning is coming into the new season minus some of his favorite targets as tight end Julius Thomas and WR Wes Welker left the Broncos.
Manning will team with wideouts Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders as well as his tight ends and running backs to provide the spark on offense while C.J. Anderson, who was the main cog for Denver late in the season as Manning nursed injuries, will handle the bulk of the running this season.
The defense was solid last season as Denver was second in the NFL against the run, allowing only 80 yards per game while ranking third overall in total defense.
New Head Coach Gary Kubiak takes over after a stint in Houston in previous years and will have Manning and company doing their thing as the Broncos seek to win a fifth consecutive AFC West division crown.
The window may be closing on the Broncos in the Peyton Manning era and they know they are under pressure to get back to the Super Bowl after bowing out is dismal fashion at home to Indianapolis in last year's playoffs.
The AFC West is strong and the Broncos will be fending off the surging Chiefs and Chargers as well as the Raiders, who appear (on paper at least) to be improving. Denver should win one more AFC West title with an 11-5 record this year.
Another Super Bowl appearance is not out of the question, but how far they can go in the playoffs will depend on the health of Manning, who is in the twilight of his Hall-of-Fame career.

Week 1 - vs. Baltimore Ravens
Week 2 - at Kansas City Chiefs
Week 3 - at Detroit Lions
Week 4 - vs. Minnesota Vikings
Week 5 - at Oakland Raiders
Week 6 - at Cleveland Browns
Week 7 - BYE WEEK
Week 8 - vs. Green Bay Packers
Week 9 - at Indianapolis Colts
Week 10 - vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Week 11 - at Chicago Bears
Week 12 - vs. New England Patriots
Week 13 - at San Diego Chargers
Week 14 - vs. Oakland Raiders
Week 15 - at Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 16 - vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Week 17 - vs. San Diego Chargers

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