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KANSAS CITY — Are the Broncos better than their 3-5 record suggests?
“Absolutely. Absolutely,” said Derek Wolfe
“Yeah, 100 percent,” said Justin Simmons.
“I feel like we have a great team,” said Von Miller. Bradley Chubb said the same.
Are they right?
The Broncos are an odd puzzle to solve. On one hand, they’ve lost five of their eight games, with their only wins coming against teams with a combined record of 5-14 coming into Sunday. On the other hand, they’ve lost three games to two teams with a combined 14-1 record by an average of 4.6 points.
In all reality, the only inexcusable loss they have on their schedule came to the Jets, and even that was a road game.
On Sunday, they gave the Kansas City Chiefs another run for their money, with self-inflicted penalties and turnovers being the biggest reason for the 30-23 loss. So what does it mean that they can hang with the league’s elite?
“Nothing. You lost. If you lose it doesn’t count for shit,” said Derek Wolfe. “All that matters is wins in this league. This is a production league. If you’re not winning that it doesn’t matter what you did. If you lose, it doesn’t matter how good you played.”
As they say, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. As they also say, you are what your record says you are.
Here’s the thing, though, the Broncos are significantly better than they were last year. Their offense is significantly more explosive than it was last year. Their running game is significantly better than it was last year. Their special teams are better than they were last year—punter notwithstanding. Their defense has held the Chiefs to their two lowest point totals of the season and held the Rams to their lowest output, as well. This isn’t a bad football team.
The Broncos are an average football team with a discipline problem and an unfortunate slate for a team that finished in last place a year ago.
“Coming into the season, I thought we were supposed to have one of the easiest schedules in the league,” Chris Harris Jr. said with a laugh of disbelief. “It’s funny, it really turned out to be the hardest schedule.”
And things don’t get too much easier, either. Sure, they have a three-game stretch against the Niners, Browns and Raiders, but every one of the other five games left on the schedule comes against a team that came into this Sunday with a winning record.
In their words, they need to win every one of their games from here on out to make the playoffs. In our words, if a couple loose tires fall off, 6-10 is a real possibility.
For a team that looks like they need a hard reset, that may actually be a good thing. For a team that’s clearly improved in many areas and a team full of proud veterans with championship rings, it’s a really tough pill to swallow.
The Broncos are probably better than their 3-5 record suggests. The Broncos are definitely better than they were last year. The only problem is that gets them from bad to mediocre, and in this league, mediocre isn’t any better than bad.