Will Denver Broncos Super Bowl Talk Lead To NFL Championship?
The time has come to gaze into the crystal ball of pigskin mania to see what the future holds for the Denver Broncos, the NFL post- season, and to reveal the annual Zane Mathews Super Bowl prediction.
Super Bowl Talk In Bronco Country
There has been plenty of Super Bowl talk ever since the Broncos signed quarterback Russell Wilson away from the Seattle Seahawks - and much of that talk has come from Wilson himself. I've heard him say his goal is not to win one Super Bowl - but several. I appreciate his drive, determination, ambition, and positivity - but, unfortunately, reality supersedes all expectations and predictions.
Peyton Only Did It Once For the Broncos
I would remind Bronco Country of the Peyton Manning experiment. One of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, surrounded by a dang good football team, could only bring one Lombardi Trophy to the Mile High City. I've never heard Russell Wilson's name mentioned in any discussion about the greatest NFL quarterbacks, and this Bronco team sure doesn't seem to compare to that Super Bowl-winning team of 2015 - and maybe not even the one that lost to the Seahawks two years prior.
A Loaded Offense WIth Weapons Will Help
Having said that, I don't believe that a Super Bowl championship in the next five years is beyond reasonable expectations for the Broncos. The fact is, Wilson is an outstanding quarterback - and arguably the third-best QB ever to don the blue and orange of Bronco Country. The offense is loaded with weapons and should be every bit as potent as those Manning-led offenses of the past. This team should be in every game they play.
The Big Bronco Questions - A Sackable Quarterback
The two big question marks for me remain the offensive line - something we were talking about even back in the Manning days. Can it give Wilson the time he needs to get the ball into the hands of the amazing playmakers at his disposal? While Wilson is a mobile quarterback - historically, he's taken a lot of sacks. He's been sacked the 14th most times in NFL history. However, we might be encouraged by the fact that John Elway is #4 on that list, and we all know about his success.
Is the Defense Good Enough?
The other question is the defense. We have some great playmakers like Bradley Chubb, Ronald Gregory, Patrick Surtain II, and Justin Simmons, but is that enough? Are the other defenders worthy of a Super Bowl-caliber team? And, if we have significant injuries on that side of the ball, do we have the depth to fill those holes at a high level? Can this defense stop the mighty Chiefs offense?
The Broncos Bottom Line
The way I see it, there are three games on the schedule that could go either way - 49ers and Colts at home, and on the road against Tennessee. Win one of those games and they get to 9 wins and a possible playoff berth. Win two of three they definitely get in. The Broncos will be a better football team this year, no doubt about it. But, the AFC West is going to be brutal and I see the Broncos going 2-4 in the division on their way to a 9-win season and a return to the playoffs where they make an unfortunate first-round exit. But, just wait until next year.