One didn’t have to be a football savant to realize that the 2022 Denver Broncos were one of the biggest disappointments in NFL history. That’s why not everybody has them so high on their Colorado Betting Guide.
Then again, things can change drastically in this league, and that’s the hope and expectation this time around.
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Nathaniel Hackett’s tenure in charge of the team was nothing short of a disaster. He failed to get his team ready, and while there’s also a lot of blame on Russell Wilson’s shoulders, it seems like they were always set up for disaster.
But there’s no more room or time for excuses at Mile High. They gave Wilson a bunch load of money to lead them to a Super Bowl, and they now gave him Sean Payton as his Head Coach, so it’s about time they get over the hump and get the job done.
However, will they be able to pull it off? Will they perform at the height of the expectations once and for all? Or will they continue to be a major disappointment? Let’s take a look at two key aspects.
A Tough Division
It’s not a secret that the AFC West is one of the toughest divisions in the league. One could make a case for at least three teams being legit playoff contenders, with the Las Vegas Raiders being the only one that would shock the world by having a winning season in 2023.
The Los Angeles Chargers have plenty of pressure on their shoulders, especially after the way they blew that 27-point lead in the playoffs. A lot of people could lose their jobs if they don’t get better this season, and they have the personnel to be a driving force on both ends of the field, especially offensively.
Then, you have to face Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs twice a year, which is obviously a nightmare. They’re the reigning champions and have been the team to beat in the league for the past five years or so.
It’s All On Russell Wilson
The Broncos still have an elite defense from their days under Vic Fangio, and Payton’s defense has always been stellar. So, once again, it’ll all depend on whether Wilson is able to move the chains and be the guy he was during his days with the Seattle Seahawks or not. When asked about last season’s struggles, coach Payton didn’t blame him but the entire coaching staff:
“Oh, man,” Payton said. “There’s so much dirt around that. There are 20 dirty hands, for what was allowed, tolerated in the fricking training rooms, the meeting rooms. The offense. I don’t know Hackett. A lot of people had dirt on their hands. It wasn’t just Russell. He didn’t just flip. He still has it. This B.S. that he hit a wall? Shoot, they couldn’t get a play-in. They were 29th in the league in pre-snap penalties on both sides of the ball.”
Wilson knows it’s now or never for him as well. He’s coming off the worst season of his career, and overcoming that narrative at this point will be a bit of an uphill battle. Even so, he’s aiming for the top prize:
“That’s a statement that we all know that we all want to do,’’ Wilson said. “Anything not first is second, or last in my opinion. He’s a legend in this game and we trust everything he feels about it.’’
The Broncos have more than enough weapons on both ends of the field to be a legit problem, even in one of the most competitive divisions in the game. Will the quarterback be up to the task? That remains to be seen.
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