The Denver Broncos are expected to be Super Bowl contenders this season, but some NFL experts are skeptical.
On September 5, The Athletic released their official 2022 NFL playoff predictions. The predictions were made collectively by their NFL experts. In each conference, the teams were separated into three categories: “The locks”, “On the bubble”, and “Competing for the No. 1 pick”. The Broncos were placed into the “On the bubble” category. Surprisingly, the Broncos were given the lowest odds to make the playoffs in their category; they were given only a 26 percent chance to make the playoffs.
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The Broncos Are Given a 26 Percent Chance to Make the Playoffs
Meanwhile, the experts listed the Buffalo Bills, Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens, and Indianapolis Colts as locks. The Bills and Chargers were given 100 percent odds to make the playoffs.
“It is interesting The Athletic’s expert pickers selected two teams that missed the AFC playoffs last season as locks to make it in 2022,” they wrote. “The Chargers cost themselves the final playoff spot last season by losing to the Raiders and injuries ravaged the Ravens’ season. The experts are a little less confident in the Colts to make the playoffs, but there also seems to be a consensus that they’ll be the team to win the AFC South.”
On the Broncos’ lowest odds, the article mentions that the wild card votes were split.
“It’s clear that our experts think there are five strong teams at the top of the AFC in the Bills, Chargers, Chiefs, Bengals and Ravens,” they wrote. “That’s why everyone split their votes on who they think can win the wild cards in the AFC.”
The Broncos Should Be a Playoff Team
The AFC West is loaded, so it is understandable not to project the Broncos to win the division. However, they were given lower odds for a wild card spot than the Tennesse Titans, Las Vegas Raiders, and New England Patriots. That seems like a stretch.
The Broncos won seven games last season without elite quarterback play. As a team, they had 20 passing touchdowns, which was tied for the fifth-fewest in the NFL.
Following the addition of Russell Wilson, the Broncos’ passing game should take a major leap forward. Wilson should be able to maximize wide receivers Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, and K.J. Hamler.
Furthermore, their defense played at a high-level last season, as they allowed the third-fewest points per game (18.9). They added edge rusher Randy Gregory, cornerback K’Waun Williams, and defensive tackle D.J. Jones in free agency. After a phenomenal rookie season, cornerback Pat Surtain II could have an All-Pro year.
Last season, the Pittsburgh Steelers secure the last AFC Wild Card spot with a 9-7-1 record. On paper, the Broncos should be able to easily hit that mark. Given their performance last season, it is easy to foresee the Broncos winning ten or more games in 2022.