Last season: 13-3, AFC champions, ass handed to them in Super Bowl
Acquisitions: Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward, DeMarcus Ware, Emmanuel Sanders, Bradley Roby
Departures: Eric Decker, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Champ Bailey, Zane Beadles, Knowshon Moreno, Shaun Phillips
Vegas 2014 win total over/under: 11.5 wins
Five ways the Broncos get revenge in Seattle in Week 3:
— No safeties until the second drive!
— Have new free agents tell Seahawks, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
— Create a Twitter bot that responds to all Richard Sherman tweets, “No, I’M the best corner in the league”, distracting him for at least the rest of 2014.
— Living well is the best revenge.
— Shrug and say Arrowhead is louder.
Fan forecast by Spilly:
It’s always tough writing the preview for the big, successful team that gets embarrassing amounts of national attention without coming across as a tremendous asshole. And damn, have the Broncos have been the media darlings ever since Josh McDaniels blew a first round pick on the Inaccurate Selection. So then, I understand if you’ve had it with ESPN’s fellation of the Broncos, or secretly reveled in delight at their complete and under destruction in February. Those of us barely old enough to remember completely bombing championships in the 80s quickly trotted out the banner of “Most Super Bowls Lost!” like some kind of self-deprecating shield from criticism. Many of us blamed a porous and exposed defense paired with an offense that had become predictable and one-sided. Others summed it all up as pure Manningderp. The hardliners chalked it up to cursed orange jerseys and nothing more.
For me, realizing you’ve lost a Super Bowl in the second quarter is an oddly calming thing. By halftime, there was about as much tension as the fourth preseason game. There would be no agonizing blown call or accursed lucky Seahawk hero to rue for the rest of time. We were losing to a team that had never won, with a bunch of fun, new faces and characters. I looked forward to Internet White People who were going to be angry that Richard Sherman was happy! Hell, most Niner fans were much, much angrier than I was at the end of the game.
Now it’s 2014 and we put on the armor once more. Unsurprisingly, the Broncos are favored in the AFC, and some sports books have the team tops in the league. It’s chaff, to be sure; people love putting money on big stars and teams the media choose to prop up. In truth, this team had a lot of holes exposed in that Super Bowl and until they prove they’ve changed things around to plug them (ha ha John Fox changing things ha ha), teams are going to keep going to that well. Still, no one expect this team to self-destruct without some kind of catastrophic Manning injury. Here’s the highlights of what to expect:
Eric Decker’s out and off to New York, where he will likely flounder and sink into the infinite maw of darkness that is Jets football. There’s no reason to blame him – he’s coming off of solid seasons in Denver and his value wasn’t going to get higher than it was last year. The Jets love to overpay. I wish you well, Decks. It also means Bronco fans no longer have to wince when people refer to Demaryius Thomas and Decker as ‘Black and Decker’ because lol get it, DT is a black person and Eric is a Decker.
The Broncos decided to replace him with sure handed, clutch Steeler receiver Emmanuel Sandhahahaahaha oh man, nah, Sanders is going to drop every goddamn thing. Well, that’s…that’s not fair. He’ll only drop important, crucial touchdown passes after he’s broken coverage. Luckily, we can still rely on Wes Welker, who has never dropped an important pass ever.
Knowshon Moreno is out, and Montee Ball is the new full time recipient of “the best draw play opportunities you will ever get, ever”. He had fumbling issues last year, but people don’t seem to be concerned with that yet. Knowshon did too, and he parlayed being a Manning RB into getting to fumble the ball in Miami now.
Defensively, Von Miller gets a full season, Chris Harris is back from ACL surgery, but Champ Bailey and DRC are out. Bailey hurts, because he put a lot of years into a lot of mediocre 2000’s era Broncos teams in order to collect a ton of Pro Bowl nods and not much else. It was the right call – he’s a shell of what he once was, and the Broncos secondary needed an overhaul. Enter Aqib Talib, who I’m sure is super pals with Wes Welker in training camp after the AFC Championship. This is not true. One will likely murder the other and it will be awesome bloodsport to watch.
Of course, the big free agent signings of Demarcus Ware, Talib, and TJ Ward, along with the first round pick of Bradley Roby are enough to bring hope that this can be an outstanding defensive unit. That’s something of a novelty for us – Not since the 70s have the Broncos really had a defense that outshone their offense. That’s probably not going to happen this year either, but the team is clearly throwing everything in the pot for the 2 or 3 years that Manning has left. So buck up, Bronco haters – know that in a few short years, when this team explodes into a post-Manning crater, not even the great Brock Osweiler and his tremendous height will keep ESPN from moving on to the next new hotness.