Over the last few months, the Denver Broncos have been regarded as a so-called sleeper team to make the playoffs. In fact, the Broncos might have an outside shot at being a Super Bowl contender.
After a hot stretch to end the 2019 season, the Broncos reloaded the roster through an active free agency. In the trade market, they acquired Jurrell Casey from the Tennessee Titans for a seventh-round pick, and A.J. Bouye came in by way of a fourth-round pick. The Broncos signed Graham Glasgow from Detroit, adding another piece to an improving offensive line.
Analyzing the Road Map to a Denver Broncos Super Bowl
2020 NFL Draft
The biggest splash of the off-season came in the draft as the Broncos had an objectively terrific draft from top to bottom. In the first round, Denver drafted Jerry Jeudy from Alabama, a route-running aficionado who will star as the Robin to Courtland Sutton’s Batman. The Broncos doubled down on wide receivers by nabbing K.J. Hamler in the second round. In the final five rounds, Denver added potential starters at cornerback (Michael Ojemudia), center (Lloyd Cushenberry), and guard (Netane Muti) while adding two more weapons for quarterback Drew Lock in the form of Albert Okwuegbunam and Tyrie Cleveland.
With a seventh playoff spot being added to both conferences this season, the Broncos have an even greater chance of making the playoffs than they did previously. In 2019, the Broncos were only one game out of the seventh seed, and an improved Lock would push the Broncos as high as fifth in the AFC.
But They Sucked Last Year, Right?
The Broncos finished the 2019 season at 7-9, but the record is misleading as they went 4-1 with Lock starting and had a pair of early-season losses that can be chalked up to fluky penalties and miraculous field goals. If Lock starts the entire season, the Broncos likely win two extra games and make the playoffs over Tennessee.
The 2020 Broncos have a defined map to victory by following the star-laden defense. Von Miller returns for his 10th season, and Bradley Chubb is coming off an ACL injury that sacrificed the final 11 games of his 2019 season. Long-time lockdown cornerback Chris Harris has moved to Los Angeles, but the secondary should be sturdy with the aforementioned Bouye and Ojemudia joining Kareem Jackson, Bryce Callahan, and Pro Bowl snub Justin Simmons.
Even without Chubb, the Broncos flirted with an elite defense as they finished 10th in points allowed and 12th in yards allowed. In 2020, they will look to force more turnovers. With better field position, Lock and the offense should be productive. Denver’s offense that the seventh-worst average starting field position.
Offensively, Courtland Sutton and Phillip Lindsay lead the line as the incumbent options. Denver was also able to pry Melvin Gordon away from the Los Angeles Chargers. While expensive, Gordon adds nuance to the offense with his ability to catch passes from out of the backfield. The two-headed monster of Lindsay and Gordon is one of the best in the AFC. Lock does not lack options when he decides to let passes fly. 2019 first-round pick Noah Fant should be a mismatch nightmare. From Week 1, the Broncos should have five legitimate weapons in Lindsay, Gordon, Sutton, Jeudy, and Fant. For an offense that was among the worst in 2019, Denver’s ceiling might crack the top 10.
Kansas City Exists…
The Broncos are unlikely to beat out the Chiefs to win the division. The AFC Wild Card slots are free for the taking, though. The main competition will come from the Titans, Chargers, and Pittsburgh Steelers, but the Broncos will have the opportunity to play all three teams head-to-head. Denver opens the season at home against the Titans on Monday Night Football. For Week 2, the Broncos head to Pittsburgh. The Broncos and Chargers square off on Weeks 11 and 16 with the latter coming in Los Angeles.
The Broncos are entering the territory of the 2018 Falcons and 2019 Browns as overhyped teams. However, the Broncos do not need to rely on a potentially elite offense like those teams had to. If the offense improves, the Broncos will have a great chance to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Time will tell, but the Broncos are hyped for good reason. If all goes well, the Denver Broncos could add a fourth Super Bowl trophy.