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Despite officially being eliminated from the playoffs, the Denver Broncos’ season isn’t over. Yet.
In fact, they have an opportunity in their final game of the season to clinch their first winning season since 2016. That, according to Sean Payton, is extremely important.
The 2023 calendar year, however, is officially over. And what a year it was for the Broncos.
The year started with two games under interim head coach Jerry Rosburg, where Denver went 1-1 including a win to end the season against the Los Angeles Chargers. Following that season, the Broncos traded for Sean Payton. To end Payton’s first year with the team, the head coach benched Russell Wilson.
What a year it was.
Taking everything that happened in 2023 into account, how did the organization grade out over the course of the entire year?
The DNVR Broncos Crew breaks it down.
All odds below are courtesy of bet365.
What grade would you give the Broncos for the 2023 calendar year?
Zac: B — Greg Penner secured this grade on Jan. 31 when the Broncos landed Sean Payton.
Despite a very up and down year on and off the field, it’s clear the Broncos have a good coach in Payton and are trending in the right direction heading into his second season with the team.
That alone is worthy of a good grade on the year.
While Denver being eliminated from the playoffs is certainly disappointing, especially the loss to the Patriots on Christmas Eve, the Broncos will finish with at least three more wins than last season and could end the season with their first winning record since 2016.
There are still plenty of unanswered questions for the team — most notably who will be the team’s starting quarterback in 2024 — but the Broncos have the right guy in charge to answer those questions moving forward.
Henry: B+ — One year ago, the Broncos were a 5-12 season coming off one of the most embarrassing seasons in program history.
Since then, they’ve added Sean Payton as head coach and fought their way to an 8-8 record entering the season’s final game. That isn’t an ideal place to be, but it guarantees their best record in a season since 2016.
It’s tough to give out high marks for an average performance, but an average performance is leaps and bounds better than anything the Broncos have put together in the past six years.
In 2023, the Broncos found their coach and showed an upward trajectory. I’m calling that a win.
RK: C — This could probably move up to a C+ with a win over the Raiders and a winning season but when all is said and done the Broncos had a very mixed year full of ups and downs.
For every exciting moment like the hiring of Sean Payton or the five-game win streak, there’s the flip side of the coin like the Russell Wilson falling out or the horrendous start to the season.
Denver is most certainly a more well-coached team than they were a year ago but I don’t know if I can say for sure that they are in a better place organizationally until we see how they fill their newfound hole at QB.
For now, it’s a C.
Picks Picks Picks
Broncos-Raiders total points over/under 38
Broncos @ Raiders (-2.5)
Chiefs @ Chargers (-3.5)