2013 Record: 13-3
Peyton Manning was the storyline of NFL training camp in 2012. Signing with Denver after a year missed to injury for the Colts, questions arose about Manning’s status as an elite quarterback in the league. Sure enough, Manning returned to have a typical Peyton Manning year (NFL-leading 68.6% completions, 4,659 passing yards, 37 touchdowns, and 11 just interceptions) backing up the ESPN hype. He brought tight end Jacob Tamme with him from Indianapolis, but identified new targets in Demaryius Thomas (94 receptions, 1,434 yards) and Eric Decker (85 receptions, 1,064 yards). Thomas and Decker may not be Harrison and Wayne, but both will still be just 26 this season. Willis McGahee (731 rushing yards) and Knowshon Moreno (525), Ronnie Hillman (327), and Lance Ball (158) operated a running game that was good enough for Manning to work with. A key offseason move saw the Broncos bring back superstar tackle Ryan Clady by slapping the franchise tag on him. But almost as significant was the signing of slot receiver Wes Welker from New England. Welker, unhappy with Bill Belichick, should immediately develop a great working relationship with Manning. Denver scored 30.1 points per game last year, second-best in the NFL. There’s no reason to believe they won’t do it again.
Speaking of points per game, the defense allowed just the fourth-most points per game in the league. They had the third-best rushing and passing defense in terms of yardage. Even though they lost Elvis Dumervil to Baltimore in a contract snafu, they’re still in great shape for 2013. Leading sacker Von Miller (18.5) is the leader of the defense now. But other big names lie at cornerback in the legendary Champ Bailey and signee Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Outside linebacker Wesley Woodyard has developed into a solid player. They made a few additions in free agency besides Rodgers-Cromartie as well in Jacksonville defensive tackle Terrance Knighton and San Diego linebacker Shaun Phillips. They’ll miss Dumervil, who forced six fumbles last year, but have the depth to make up for it. Not having that salary under their cap helps as well. The Broncos enter 2013 on the short list of Super Bowl contenders. Don’t miss out on this explosive season—get your Broncos tickets today from Gold Coast Tickets!