The Denver Broncos haven’t won the AFC West since Peyton Manning was the starting quarterback dating back to the 2015 season. Now with the addition of a potential future Hall-of-Fame quarterback in Russell Wilson, Denver finally has a shot to retake the title from the Kansas City Chiefs.
ESPN NFL analyst and former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky thinks the Broncos will win the division this year.
While on “The Pat McAfee Show” on Thursday, August 18, Orlovsky mentioned that any of the four teams in the AFC West could win the division, but his pick is still Denver.
“I think the reason why I say Denver, I think they’re the one offense in the division that can do whatever is necessary offensively.”
Orlovsky also thinks that is finally in the right situation. “I don’t think Russ has ever had the situation offensively that he’s had in Denver where elite scheme and play calling.”
Wilson has been in the west coast offense for quite some time while playing in Seattle, but his offensive coordinators never came from the Mike Shanahan or Gary Kubiak tree.
Orlovsky continued, “I think the skill position people in Denver are really talented. I don’t think Russ has ever had those two together. He’s had some [players] really high in skill in Seattle, but I don’t think he’s had the scheme to match that at the same time.”
Denver Could Dominate The Run
When you look at the rushing attacks in the AFC West, Denver clearly has the best one-two punch with Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon.
Second-year running back, Javonte Williams rushed for just over 900 yards as a rookie in 2021 and rushed for 4 touchdowns. Williams also split his carries 50/50 with Melvin Gordon who rushed for 918 yards and totaled up 8 trips to the endzone.
When you watched Williams run last season, you knew it was going to take a few players to take him down to the ground. Williams ranked second in missed tackles forced after a rush, per Pro Football Focus.
It’s clear the Broncos are going to make Williams the number one running back this season and make Gordon the No. 2 guy.
In an offense that’s heavy on the run to set up the pass, there’s a good chance that you’ll see Williams’ numbers increase in his second season and help keep the Denver defense off the field for as long as possible.
Looking at the Chiefs, head coach Andy Reid hasn’t had a single 1,000-yard rusher since 2017 with Kareem Hunt. Kansas City has pretty much explained that they’re going to throw the ball all over the field with their superstar quarterback, Patrick Mahomes.
The same concept has occurred in Los Angeles with the Chargers. The baby blue and yellow haven’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since coincidentally Melvin Gordon back in 2017. With Justin Herbert as the franchise quarterback, the Chargers are going to have to force running back Austin Ekeler to take the heavy load on the ground instead of being that receiving threat.
With the Raiders, well they have multiple running backs on the roster in Josh Jacobs, Zamir White, Kenyan Drake, and Ameer Abdullah.
Jacobs’ name has been tossed around in trade rumors, but the Raiders have disclaimed those rumors. Under new head Coach Josh McDaniels, it seems that Las Vegas is going to use their running backs by committee, just like the Patriots have done for years.
There’s no doubt, Denver should have the best running back group in the division.
Starters Unlikely to Play Against Buffalo
Coach Hackett has made it known that the Broncos are not going to start Russell Wilson this week against Buffalo. Josh Johnson is getting the nod at quarterback followed by Brett Rypien.
Saturday’s game should look pretty similar to last week’s game as far as which players will play.