Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos come in at number 3 in the Top 32 preseason NFL Power Rankings Countdown. Can the Broncos make it to the Super Bowl?
Fan on Fire: Top 32 NFL Power Rankings
3. Denver Broncos – (13-3)
Top Five Returning Players:
1. Peyton Manning, QB - Manning returned to football with a lot of questions, and many of those question were answered. Though initially showing some physical limitations in terms of arm strength, Manning overcame that by performing like his old accurate and calculating self in operating the Broncos offense. Manning is still among the best in the game in reading defenses and finding the open man, and as long as he can do that, and stay healthy, the Broncos will be a threat to win the super bowl.
2. Von Miller, OLB - In a short time Miller has emerged as one of the most fearsome and relentless pass rushers in the NFL. However, Miller has been suspended for the first four games of the 2013 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
3. Ryan Clady, LT - Has become one of the top left Tackles in the NFL and is a three-time all-pro.
4. Demaryius Thomas, WR - Has emerged as one of the best up and coming wide receivers in the league and was all-pro last year.
5. Champ Bailey, CB - A future hall of famer and still one of the top cover corners in the NFL.
Top Newcomer: Wes Welker, WR - The Broncos offense was already good, and now they have added one of the best slot receivers in the NFL. Wes Welker fell to the Broncos after the Patriots failed to re-sign him. Welker should fit in nicely into the Broncos up-tempo passing game, and should quickly become Peyton Manning’s favorite target.
Biggest loss from last season: Elvis Dumervil, DE - Dumervil is one of the league’s most consistent pass rushers, and the way by which the Broncos lost his services was an absolute debacle. One which I think the Broncos may come to regret, as pass rushers don’t grow on trees and the team really had no one ready to step into his place.
Player who might surprise: Montee Ball, RB - Last year’s starter Willis McGahee is gone, and part-time starter Knowshon Moreno is often injured and has been inconsistent. So that leaves a void to be filled at the feature back position. The Broncos drafted Ronnie Hillman last season and now they have added Montee Ball with their second round pick this year. Ball will get the opportunity to be the primary runner, as long as he can do well with blitz pick ups.
What needs to happen to improve on Ranking:
1. The Broncos need to get more production out of their running game. The Broncos released their leading rusher from the past few seasons Willis McGahee, so their will probably more of a running back by committee to start the season. Ronnie Hillman showed some flashes last season as a rookie, and Knowshon Moreno has struggled with injuries. Rookie Montee Ball may end up being the feature back when all is said and done.
2. The Broncos need to get better play from their secondary. This was the Achilles heel last season in the playoffs for the Broncos, and the unit needs to perform better for them to advance further in the playoffs. Future hall of famer Champ Bailey is still the leader of the secondary, but the addition of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie should help strengthen the unit.
3. The Broncos need to get better at the deep passing game. Peyton Manning returned from neck surgery last season and struggled with the deep pass. AT times defenses were able to exploit this weakness, but as the season went on Manning arm strength improved. However, it may still be a liability and as good as the Broncos offense could be, deep passing may not be something they can improve.
What could make this ranking worse: This ranking could become worse if Peyton Manning gets injured or the Broncos fail to establish a better running game.
Biggest off-season developments:
1. Broncos director of player personnel Matt Russell and director of pro personnel Tom Heckert were suspended from the team by executive vice president of football operations John Elway for DUI arrests.
2. DE Elvis Dumervil was released by the Broncos after the two sides failed to restructure his contract in time.
3. Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy left the team to become the head coach of the San Diego Chargers.
2013 Prediction: 12-4 - The Broncos are still the best team in the weak AFC West, so they will be the favorite to win it. The Chiefs have improved and the Chargers should be better as well, but the Broncos will win the division. The only questions are by how many games will they win it and will coach John Fox have the Broncos better prepared to get to the Super Bowl?
- Denver Broncos News: Horse Tracks – 7/28/13 (milehighreport.com)
- NFL Season Preview: Denver Broncos Edition (iclutchgene.wordpress.com)
- Mile High Monday: Broncos Training Camp Bringing Both Highs and Lows (predominantlyorange.com)
- Broncos’ Miller says he did nothing wrong (timesleader.com)