Before the Denver Broncos’ season started, Sean Payton told USA Today he would be “pissed off” if the Broncos didn’t make the playoffs.
After the 0-2 start to the season, history would suggest Payton will be upset at the end of the year.
That is, unless, Payton and the Broncos are able to turn their season around with the remaining 15 games. Will they? What will Denver’s final record be after the slow start to the season?
The DNVR Broncos Crew breaks it down.
All odds below are courtesy of bet365.
What will the Broncos’ final record be?
Zac: — 7-10 The most disappointing part of Denver’s 0-2 start is both losses were among the five easiest games on their schedule. The only games that are easier than the Raiders and Commanders is arguably the Bears (Week 4) and the Texans (Week 13). However, those games are both on the road, compared to the first two games of the season at home.
But, I do expect the Broncos to get better as the season goes along, meaning they will win more than just those two games.
The offense has shown significant signs of life, highlighted by three-straight touchdowns to start Sunday’s game against the Commanders. It will take time for the offense to fully hit their stride, but the flashes have been encouraging.
However, I am significantly concerned about the defense, as is Payton. In fact, the head coach dropped a very concerning fact following the defense giving up 35 points to the Commanders on Sunday.
“I didn’t think we played well, and we’re going to see a lot better offenses than that,” Payton stated about Denver’s defense.
Through two weeks, Denver’s defense is near the bottom of the league in many categories. Barring a significant change in the defense’s performance, the Broncos will, once again, fall short of a winning season.
Additionally, as the Saints head coach, Payton started 0-2 five different times. The first four times, the Saints finished 7-9. The most recent time, in 2017, they finished 11-5, made the playoffs and won a playoff game. I see Payton’s first year in Denver finishing more like his first four 0-2 starts in New Orleans than his most recent.
RK: 8-9 — Sean Payton has an incredibly difficult challenge ahead of him. He has to figure out how to rid the Broncos of their nasty losing culture and he’s already running out of time for it to make a difference this season.
I think Payton will teach Denver how to win. He’s a winner. I also think he will get them over that hump soon. But in the end, it will too late for it to help the team get anywhere meaningful this year. An 0-2 start with this schedule will probably prove to be a death knell for the 2023 Broncos. But when all is said and done, we’ll look back and say if the end-of-the-season Broncos got to play those games, they would have won.
Losing culture is hard to define, but you know it when you see it. RIght now Denver is finding ways to lose on the field, Sean Payton and his staff need to teach them how to find ways to win.
Hank: 8-9 — The Broncos haven’t flushed their 2023 hopes down the toilet yet, but they’re swirling around the bowl.
But—and call me crazy if you want—I think I’ve seen more that I like than I dislike from the Broncos.
Sure, the Denver defense has been a major disappointment. It’s been one of the worst units in the league. It’s the reason that the Broncos lost both of their first two games. In particular, the defensive penalties have doomed them. They’ve given up they’ve given up 10 free first downs, the most in the league and nearly triple the NFL average. If the Broncos clean those up, they’ll probably be right around league average defensively. I trust the talent on that side of the ball to figure things out.
Meanwhile, the offense has far exceeded my expectations. The Broncos lead the NFL in points per possession, despite ranking in the bottom half of the league in average starting field position. They’ve taken a strange path to their success—Week 1 was an odd, remarkably slow-paced game, and a prolonged dry spell in Week 2 was sandwiched between a hot start and a clutch finish—but I like what I’ve seen overall.
Unfortunately the final score means much, much more than the eye test, and that’s why the Broncos’ playoff hopes are holding on by a thread. Still, based on the eye test, I think the Broncos will win more often than they lose over the final 15 games of the season.
Picks Picks Picks
Russell Wilson passing yards over/under 231.5
Tua Tagovailoa passing yards over/under 264.5
Will Russell Wilson or Tua Tagovailoa have a longer pass completion?
Jerry Jeudy receiving yards over/under 49.5
Courtland Sutton receiving yards over/under 46.5
Tyreek Hill receiving yards over/under 83.5
Javonte Williams rushing yards over/under 50.5
Russell Wilson rushing yards over/under 16.5
Zac: Over. Over. Over.
Raheem Mostert rushing yards over/under 61.5
Broncos-Dolphins total points over/under (48)
Broncos @ Dolphins (-6.5)
Zac: Broncos cover.
Chargers @ Vikings (-1)
Bears @ Chiefs (-12.5)
Steelers @ Raiders (-2.5)