2018 Denver Broncos Season Win Totals Predictions and Expert Picks
2017 Record: 5-11
2018 Denver Broncos Las Vegas Season Win Total: 7.5*
2018 Denver Broncos Season Win Total Picks NFL Football: 'Over'
The Chargers enter the 2018 season as the favorites to win the AFC West. The Oakland Raiders, with Jon Gruden's return, and the Kansas City Chiefs, with their quarterback switch, are also getting most of the attention in the division. But that means that the forgotten team is the Denver Broncos. And they could actually turn out to be the best of the bunch.
Denver stumbled its way to a 5-11, last-place finish last year in coach Vance Joseph's rookie campaign. But its easy to forget that Denver has been one of the most consistent, most successful franchises in football over the course of the last four decades. Last season was just their third sub-.500 season this century and just the seventh losing season in Denver over the last 40 years. That's remarkable.
Denver's slide can be directly attributed to the failed Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch Experiments. The Broncos are hoping that whatever magic Case Keenum found in Minnesota last year will carry over into the Rockies. Keenum is being tasked with revitalizing a pass offense that dropped to No. 20 in the league last season. He's accurate and takes care of the ball. But Keenum also doesn't have much of a track record of success to hang his hat on.
The Broncos are hoping that improved quarterback play will unlock some dormant talent at the skill positions. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders have been incredibly inefficient the past two seasons after dominating years in 2014 and 2015. The Broncos are also hoping that either Devontae Booker or Royce Freeman can give the running game a jolt behind a thick offensive line.
Over the last six years Denver's defense has ranked in the Top 4 in the NFL five times. That includes four straight years with Top 4 finishes. However, last year's team, despite finishing No. 3 in total defense, was No. 22 in points allowed. Their 12.1 defensive yards per point was the worst in the NFL and mainly a function of being put in poor spots by the offense.
The front seven is still a major strength. Von Miller, Brandon Marshall, Shane Ray and rookie Bradley Chubb give them a plethora of pass rushing options. And that should help take the pressure off a secondary replacing Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward. It is also crucial that veteran big men Derek Wolfe and Domata Peko stay healthy up front in the 3-4 scheme.
Denver will have a chance to build some early momentum with two straight home games to open the season. Four of their first six games are at home, and they play only one road game this year against a 2017 playoff team (Kansas City). It is as favorable of a schedule as any team in the NFL can have.
There is virtually no separation between the four teams in the AFC West. It isn't the best division in football. But it is probably the most balanced and most competitive. With the talent on hand and with that schedule, the Broncos could very well be the most underrated of the four teams. And if they can get more efficient execution on both sides of the ball then a worst-to-first turnaround isn't out of the question.
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