This NFL season has had one of the strangest starts in recent memory. The New England Patriots and New York Jets played a nail biter this week to decide the leader of the AFC East; the Oakland Raiders are two games below .500; The Denver Broncos have been wildly unpredictable. They struggled to beat the Los Angeles Chargers in week one, destroyed the Dallas Cowboys in week two, and just this Sunday, they lost to the winless and hapless New York Giants. Despite falling to 3-2, there are a few reasons for Broncos fans to remain optimistic.
Reasons for the Denver Broncos Not to Panic
Very often in the NFL, teams underestimate weaker teams after coming off a big win. Both the Broncos losses this year came after big wins. The Broncos beat the Cowboys 42-17 and looked like real Super Bowl contenders, only to lose to the Buffalo Bills the week after.
Similarly, the Broncos won a big division game against the Raiders, and come back after a bye-week to lose to the winless Giants. The Broncos have showed up in all big games this year, which is an encouraging sign. The Broncos now are desperate and know they can no longer underestimate any opponents.
The Broncos have a stretch of four big games coming up, and cannot underrate their opponents. When the Broncos are locked in, they look like one of the best teams in the league. Trap games are common in the NFL, but the Broncos schedule does not have anymore for a while. Many tough opponents await the Broncos in the upcoming weeks, and everyone knows Vance Joseph will have them ready.
Returns from injury
Injuries are part of the game and the Broncos have been missing a couple key components thus far in the season. On the defensive side, Von Miller’s sidekick Shane Ray will be returning in week eight for a big game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Ray was poised for a breakout season before he got injured in training camp. With all the attention defenses devote to Miller, Ray will have the opportunity to get to quarterback. Miller has gotten off to a great start this season, and Ray’s return will allow him to build on his dominance.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Broncos will finally be able to see rookie tight end Jake Butt in action. The Michigan product was one of the top tight-ends in the draft prior to his knee injury. He is set to return in the coming weeks. With the uncertainty of Emmanuel Sanders health, the Broncos need another playmaker offensively and Butt is just that.
Also offensively, Devontae Booker has started to look like himself again. He has shown his big play ability in flashes, and as he continues to play off the rust, he will become a big part of the offense again. As the important pieces of the Broncos continue to return from injury, expect to see the full potential of the Broncos on both sides of the field.
They look better than last year
Despite the worse record at this point of the season than last year, they look like a more complete team. Outside of the last game against the Giants, their offensive line has improved tremendously from last year. The improved offensive line has jumpstarted a much more successful run game. C.J. Anderson has been finding holes much more consistently this year and the addition of Jamaal Charles has added a receiving threat out of the backfield.
The Broncos secondary is at the same elite level as last year and this year, their run defense is among the best in the league. The addition of Domata Peko has lifted the Broncos from one of the worst run defenses last year, to the one of the best this year.