Is it that time already? Al Dannity is back for another summer profiling every team in the National Football League. Our NFL previews kick off in the AFC West with the Denver Broncos.
NFL betting fans will have noticed one big change away from the field with the Broncos. John Elway has returned and it’s not clear what impact he will have as an executive. His comments on Tim Tebow, misinterpreted as they may have been, certainly didn’t help to keep things smooth early on. Fortunately for Denver, Tebow is the type of player who takes every criticism as a reason to train harder and prove people wrong.
Staying on the quarterback theme, Denver must work out what the long term plan for Kyle Orton is. Will they shop him or can he beat out Tebow conclusively to become the unquestioned leader of the franchise. Resolving this question quickly will be as difficult as it is necessary.
Denver had a solid draft, helped by having six picks in the first four rounds. Von Miller is the headline talent but Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter are both big additions to the Broncos’ secondary.
Mark your calendar
The Monday night opener at home to the Raiders should prove fascinating, to say the least. Oakland took bigger steps forward last season but Denver displayed some potential. With a limited off-season, it will be interesting to see how these sides start off 2011. Week 4 presents a tough road trip to Green Bay against the defending Super Bowl champions.
Weeks 11 and 12 present two tough challenges. First up is a Thursday night date with the Jets at home. That’s followed by a trip to Qualcomm Stadium to take on the Chargers. Three of Denver’s final four games are at home to playoff teams from 2010, with Chicago, the Patriots, and the Chiefs all paying a visit.
Progress should come but don’t expect the kind of rapid turnarounds witnessed in Oakland and Kansas City last season. The Broncos would be exceeding all expectations if they made it to .500, never mind the playoffs. That being said, there are plenty of winnable games on the slate and I like Denver to improve from their 4-12 record last year. On balance the Broncos look more like a 6-10 outfit this season, winning a couple of games where they won’t be favored in the process.