By, Faux John Madden (Special to OddsUSA.com)
When it comes to the Denver Broncos, I often think of that famous saying…
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, try, try, try and try again.”– John Elway trying to find a quarterback
Oh, you haven’t heard that version of the famous Thomas Palmer quote? Well the John Elway version refers to how many times he has whiffed on trying to replace Peyton Manning ever since he went to go build ‘Peytonville’ with Brad Paisley some four years ago.
However, a young quarterback Denver would draft in 2019 and a new cast of weapons on the offensive side of the football have John Elway and the Broncos feeling good about their chances under second-year head coach Vin Fangio.
Broncos 2019 Season Review
The Broncos entered the 2019 campaign looking to erase the Vance Joseph era from their memory banks for the rest of eternity, as the team would fire Joseph after a 6-10 season and 11-21 record over two seasons with the team. After turning the Bears defense into a force of nature the season before, Vic Fangio was brought on by John Elway to run the show in the Mile-High City.
After a pretty paltry season at quarterback for the Broncos played by Case Keenum, Elway figured he would return to his roots and go out and trade for
a tall stiff who was way past his prime and everyone but him could see it the ELITE, Joe Flacco.
Flacco, despite all his eliteness, could not get the Broncos going in the right direction and would lead Denver to a 2-6 record in his only 8 games as starter for the team.
As fate would have it, after an injury would end Flacco’s season, the team seemingly began to play better. Brandon Allen would only win one of his three starts in relief of Flacco, but then rookie Drew Lock was ready to return to the team after spending most of the season on injured reserve with a badly sprained thumb on his throwing hand.
When Lock entered the lineup, the Broncos were a noticeably better offensive team, and as such their defense was finally able to close games out instead of gassing out in the second half.
Denver would end the season on a feverish tear with their Jeezy lip-syncing rookie leading the Broncos to a 4-1 record to close out the year with their lone loss coming on the road against the eventual Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs in a wintry wonderland.
That’s right, after several years of trying to find a clone of himself, John Elway finally had a seemingly promising talent fall into his lap at the quarterback position.
The Broncos would close out the season with a 7-9 record, but a 7-9 record that left the team feeling promise for the future for the first time since they won a Super Bowl just four years ago.
Did the Most Millennial Thing Possible by Moving to Colorado
G Graham Glasgow (Lions)
DE Jurrell Casey (Titans/Trade)
CB A.J. Bouye (Jaguars/Trade)
RB Melvin Gordon (Chargers)
P Sam Martin (Lions)
TE Nick Vannett (Steelers)
QB Jeff Driskel (Lions)
The Broncos Actually Used the Franchise Tag Correctly to Keep
S Justin Simmons (Tender Signed)
Elite and Non-Elite Players to Leave the Mile High City
C Connor McGovern (Jets)
CB Chris Harris (Chargers)
DE Derek Wolfe (Ravens)
QB Joe(LITE) Flacco (Jets)
S Will Parks (Eagles)
RB Devontae Booker (Raiders)
Broncos 2020 Offensive Preview
If Drew Lock picks up where he left off to close out the 2019 NFL Season for the Broncos, this Denver offense has potential to be something special in 2020.
The Broncos have changed coordinators for the new season, firing Rich Scangarello and replacing him with former Giants HC Pat Shurmur. While Shurmur’s tenure as head coach in each of his stops has ultimately ended badly, he’s still considered a strong coordinator. This will however loom large to how Lock develops and how far the Denver offense could go.
Should Lock and Shurmur have success, the Denver offense is absolutely stacked with young, athletic talent. Lock will have a stable of reliable running backs with the electric Phillip Lindsay teaming up with former Charger Melvin Gordon joining the team via free agency. Former 2018 3rd round pick Royce Freeman is also still on the Broncos roster, but could be fighting for a roster spot in camp.
To pave the way for the Broncos stable of running backs, and to protect their young quarterback, the Broncos went out and spent large on free-agent guard Graham Glasgow. The offensive line will be tested however by the departure of center Connor McGovern, who departed Denver to join Adam Gase in New York. To fill McGovern’s hole, Denver will turn to LSU rookie Lloyd Cushenberry III.
Denver’s offensive line play will be instrumental in giving Lock enough time to find any one of his dangerous wide receivers. The Broncos wide receiving corps is the strength of this offense, and features the up and coming star Courtland Sutton, along with sensational rookies Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler. Denver also has 2019 1st round pick Noah Fant lining up at tight-end alongside free agent signee Nick Vannett, formerly of the Seahawks and Steelers.
On paper, the Broncos have a wealth of talent on this side of the ball. It will be interesting to see how Shurmur and Lock work together and if Denver’s offensive line can come together in the manner that Fangio and Elway hope.
Broncos 2020 Defensive Preview
Elway elected to let veterans Derek Wolfe and Chris Harris walk in free agency and traded for veterans Jurrell Casey (Titans) and A.J. Bouye (Jaguars) to replace them. While Wolfe and Harris were both key players on the Denver defense for the last several seasons and part of the defense that won Super Bowl 50, replacing them with Casey and Bouye may very well end up being an upgrade for the Broncos defensive unit.
Beyond those additions, the rest of the Broncos defense remains very sound across the board, with the highlight of the group remaining that of Von Miller. Miller returns to Denver for his ninth season despite rumors all offseason of a potential trade to clear salary.
Instead, Elway will once again rely on Miller and Bradley Chubb to get to the quarterback (particularly the guy wearing number 15 in Kansas City), with Chubb returning in 2020 after suffering an ACL injury that sidelined him for all of 2019.
Bouye will join a Broncos secondary that features one of the best young safeties in football Justin Simmons, and former cornerback turned to safety Kareem Jackson. Question marks remain for who will play opposite of Bouye, with 2019 free agent signee Bryce Callahan being the likely starter at the start of 2020.
Broncos 2020 Outlook & Prediction
For the first time in four years, there is reason for optimism if you’re a fan of the orange and blue. After a very impressive five-game debut at quarterback in 2019, all eyes in the Rocky Mountain State will be on their young quarterback to see if he can continue where he left off a season ago.
If Lock can take that next step, the Broncos have a lot of potential in 2020 and could very well find themselves back in the playoffs for the first time since winning Super Bowl 50.
If Lock is not able to take that next step however, the Broncos could be in for a difficult road to .500 playing in what’s arguably become the best division in the AFC. While we’re not crazy about Pat Shurmur, we think Lock plays well with the occasional hiccup you expect from a second-year quarterback, and the Denver Broncos get into the playoffs with a 10-win season.
Broncos Projected 2020 Finish: 10-6, 2nd AFC West
Broncos 2020 Betting Preview
In regards to the 2020 Denver Broncos, we love these futures bets:
- Denver Broncos OVER 7.5 Wins — (-118) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Like we said in the above, this really comes down to how you feel about QB Drew Lock. If you believe he’s the answer, this number is way too low. If you think Lock was just a five-game flash in the pan, you will probably want to take the under. We believe Lock has a good second season and gets the Broncos back into the playoffs.
- Broncos to Finish in 2nd Place AFC West — (+235) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Projecting the AFC West is definitely difficult in 2020, but we believe this Denver team has the inside track on the Raiders and Chargers for second place. The Chargers are always a looming x-factor in this division, as they have the roster that can contend for this division if they get good play from Tyrod Taylor or Justin Herbert at quarterback, but we just think Denver’s value here at +235 to edge those two teams out is too good to pass up.
- Jerry Jeudy to Win Offensive Rookie of the Year — (+1600) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Jeudy has potential to put up big numbers in this offense, and if the Broncos are in the thick of a playoff race, who knows? Your 16-to-1 lotto ticket might just come through. This is really just a fun wager to make so you have something to root for all season.