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Along with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Denver Broncos were one of the other major disappointments in the AFC last season after struggling to a 6-10 overall record that placed it third in the top heavy AFC West. The losing season moved the franchise to 20-28 straight up over the last three seasons. With that, John Elway decided to pull the plug on the previous coaching staff and hire Vic Fangio away from the Chicago Bears in hopes of extending his tenure looking over the day-to-day operations in Denver. While the move was a solid one no doubt, the success or lack thereof for the Broncos in 2019-20 will ultimately be placed upon an offense that’s struggled mightily due to poor quarterback play since the franchise won its third Super Bowl title back in 2015 when Peyton Manning ran the show.
Enter veteran Joe Flacco who Elway went out and traded for this past offseason. While the veteran quarterback has seen his stats taper off through the years, he’s entering a solid situation in Denver where the Broncos have stockpiled some excelled talent at the playmaking positions. The same can’t be said of the Ravens the last couple years. With that, Flacco will get every opportunity to succeed with the trio of Phillip Lindsay, Royce Freeman and Devontae Booker in the backfield to go along with a pass catching corps spearheaded by Emmanuel Sanders, Courtland Sutton and rookie Noah Fant. The offense by and large underperformed last season, but that could be chalked up to poor quarterback play. Let’s see if Flacco was the missing ingredient.
Though Ed Donatell gets the tag of defensive coordinator, ultimately it will be Fangio calling the shots after doing so for the league’s best defense in the Chicago Bears last season. Denver gave up its fair share of yardage a season ago with it the owner of the No. 22 overall ranked defense, but it only served up an average of 21.8 points per game ( No. 13 ). You can expect to see some major improvement this season with pass rushing specialists Von Miller and Bradley Chubb back a year removed from combining for 26.5 QB sacks. Also now in the mix in the secondary are Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan who will serve as the nickel down back; a role he shined in for the Bears last year before getting injured. This is an experienced unit that certainly looks to be one of the more improved in the AFC West as well as the NFL.
Denver enters the 2019-20 season donning a 7-game season win total at online sportsbooks. Should they match that output, it would only be a one-game improvement from the previous season and likely not be good enough for Elway to hold onto his gig. The AFC West is expected to be dominated by both the Chargers ( +202 ) and Chiefs ( -176 ) with the Broncos ( +1400 ) only ahead of the lowly Raiders ( +2150 ). Even so, the Broncos look to have a roster that could far exceed expectations with a new coaching staff and quarterback in place that could see the team become one of the bigger surprise teams the league has to offer. A great start to the season is a must for that to occur, but it won’t be easy with the Bears, Packers, Chargers, Chiefs, Colts and Browns on the docket leading up to the Week 10 bye.