It’s creeping up on almost a decade since the Denver Broncos had their last winning season.

Entering the 2017 season, the proud franchise was known for having more Super Bowl appearances than losing seasons. That is no longer the case as Denver has strung together seven-straight losing seasons.

That’s a big reasons why the the Walton-Penner group was okay trading a first and second-round pick to the New Orleans Saints for Sean Payton to try and get them back to their winning ways.

As a head coach, Payton had an incredible 161-97 record with the Saints. In those 15 seasons, Payton racked up 10 winning seasons, four losing seasons and one .500 season.

Will he lead the Broncos to a winning season his first year in town?

On the heels of the season, the DNVR Broncos Crew breaks it down.

All odds below are courtesy of bet365.

Will the Broncos have a winning season this year?

Zac: Yes — There are many reasons to believe Denver will have their first winning season since 2016 this year. Not only does Sean Payton have more winning seasons than not in his career, but he was able to turn the Saints around immediately when he took over.

In 2005, the year before Payton was hired, the 3-13 Saints had the second-worst record in the entire NFL. The very next season, Payton guided the Saints to a 10-6 record and a playoff win. A major part of that was Payton’s ability to turn the Saints’ offense from the second-worst offense in the NFL in 2005 to the fifth-best in 2006.

Payton will have a similar task in Denver as he takes over the worst offense in the NFL last year. If he can have even half of the success this year that he had the first year in New Orleans turning around the offense, the Broncos will be close to a winning record. Coaching is more important and impactful in football than any sport in America.

Additionally, Russell Wilson, up until last year, was the ultimate winner. In his first nine seasons in the NFL, Wilson had a winning record. The past two years, however, Wilson has two-straight losing seasons with a combined 10-19 record. But, overall, history is on Wilson’s side that he will be good enough, especially with Payton as his coach, to at least get to nine wins.

RK: Yes — As bad as the Broncos were last season from a record standpoint, its easy to forget how many close games they lose because of poor management from their coaching staff.

With Sean payton in the fold the replace Nathaniel Hackett, Denver should be exponentially better in the game management category, especially late in games. That alone should lead Denver to two or three more wins.

And then there’s the Russell Wilson factor. It’s very clear that Hackett mismanaged the franchise quarterback last season, but it was also clear that Wilson wasnt himself. Can Payton get Wilson all the way back to his former self? Maybe. But Payton doesnt need the original Russ to win nine games.

In the end, Payton needs a game manger who can make a couple plays with his feet each game to pair along with a great defense. If he can get that, the Broncos will have a winning record.

Hank: Yes — The Broncos played bad football last year. 

Melvin Gordon doomed the Broncos with fumbles. Pre-snap penalties killed the Broncos in other games. Poor play-calling and game management stung, too. 

Good football will return to Denver with Sean Payton in charge. 

Payton can’t make the Broncos bigger, faster and stronger. He can’t turn Russell Wilson into the 26-year-old version of himself. He can’t create a Super Bowl contender out of thin air. But Payton he can maximize the talent on his roster and make sure his team knows what it’s doing when it’s on the field. 

The Broncos have lost four games to the Chiefs and Raiders alone in each of the past the past three years. That won’t happen this season. A .500 record in the division is a reasonable expectation for 2023, but it hasn’t been done by the Broncos in recent history. 

Better coaching—and a little bit better luck—is all the Broncos will need to break .500 for the first time since 2016. 

Picks Picks Picks

Russell Wilson passing yards over/under 223.5

Zac: Over.

RK: Under.

Hank: Under.

Jimmy Garoppolo passing yards over/under 228.5

Zac: Over.

RK: Under.

Hank: Under.

Davante Adams receiving yards over/under 72.5

Zac: Over.

RK: Under.

Hank: Over.

Courtland Sutton receiving yards over/under 49.5

Zac: Over.

RK: Under.

Hank: Over.

Josh Jacobs rushing yards over/under 70.5

Zac: Over.

RK: Over.

Hank: Over.

Javonte Williams rushing yards over/under 48.5

Zac: Over.

RK: Over.

Hank: Over.

Russell Wilson rushing yards over/under 17.5

Zac: Over. Easy.

RK: Over.

Hank: Under.

Broncos-Raiders total points over/under 43

Zac: Over.

RK: Under.

Hank: Under.

Raiders @ Broncos (-3.5)

Zac: Broncos win and cover.

RK: Raiders cover, Broncos win.

Hank: Broncos.

Dolphins @ Chargers (-3)

Zac: Chargers.

RK: Dolphins.

Hank: Chargers.


Last week

Zac: N/A


Hank: N/A


Zac: 0-0

RK: 0-0

Hank: 0-0


Zac Stevens was born and raised in Denver, went to the University of Denver and now covers the Denver Broncos. After graduating Summa Cum Laude from DU in 2014, Zac worked for the Cleveland Browns as a remote scout. He then jumped straight into the journalism industry at the beginning of 2016 covering the reigning world-champion Broncos and joined DNVR soon after. Catch him on Twitter @ZacStevensDNVR and daily on the DNVR Broncos podcast as the co-host.

1 Comment

  1. What a disappointing game. Offense was okay, defense was okay, special teams was bad! Losing formula. This team is the same as its been same the real Peyton left. Sean has a lot of work to do, but Wil Lutz might cost him and Russ a spot in the hall of fame. Pick it up boys. Prove us wrong.

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