Denver Broncos 2021 Team Analysis and Schedule
The Denver Broncos head into their third season with Vic Fangio at the helm and while it has been far from smooth sailing, I think there is a lot of optimism around the franchise. There were whispers of Aaron Rodgers being tied to the franchise but he is on the verge of restructuring hsi contract with the Green Bay Packers.
The Broncos are +450 to win the AFC West, which is really not that bad when you have a powerhouse Kansas City Chiefs team in the division that looks like it got better throughout free agency and the draft. The Broncos are just ahead of second-year quarterback Justin Herbert and the Chargers, who are +600 to win the division.
Denver Broncos 2021 Schedule
|Week 1||Sept. 12||at New York Giants|
|Week 2||Sept. 19||at Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Week 3||Sept. 26||at New York Jets|
|Week 4||Oct. 3||at Baltimore Ravens|
|Week 5||Oct. 10||at Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Week 6||Oct. 17||at Las Vegas Raiders|
|Week 7||Oct. 21||at Cleveland Browns|
|Week 8||Oct. 31||at Washington Football Team|
|Week 9||Nov. 7||at Dallas Cowboys|
|Week 10||Nov. 14||at Philadelphia Eagles|
|Week 11||Nov. 21||BYE WEEK|
|Week 12||Nov. 28||at Los Angeles Chargers|
|Week 13||Dec. 5||at Kansas City Chiefs|
|Week 14||Dec. 12||at Detroit Lions|
|Week 15||Dec. 19||at Cincinnati Bengals|
|Week 16||Dec. 26||at Las Vegas Raiders|
|Week 17||Jan. 2||at Los Angeles Chargers|
|Week 18||Jan. 9||at Kansas City Chiefs|
When assessing the difficulty of a schedule, I love to look at the overall win expectancy of the teams on the schedule as a whole and judge schedules that way. While knowing the record of a schedule the previous season is fine, using Las Vegas win totals to determine how strong a schedule can be is the best way to go about it.
The Broncos have the second-easiest schedule in the NFL this season, helped by games against the New York Jets, Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars that are not in their division. The schedule isn’t a cakewalk by any means, but it’s very favorable relative to the rest of the NFL outside of the San Francisco 49ers and that’s nothing to scoff at. The amount of potential “easy” games where an opponent doesn’t have it together is nice for a team that may be struggling to find their identity without a clear No. 1 quarterback on the roster.
The Broncos will face the NFC East AFC North this season along with their own conference foes twice each. The NFC East is without a powerhouse and there’s potential for it to be weak once again, while the AFC North should be a bit tougher, particularly at the top with the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns.
Denver Broncos News
There is one piece of news that is the talk of Broncos’ country heading into training camp and that is the quarterback battle, particularly with Rodgers seemingly out of the mix. The Broncos will get Courtland Sutton back this season to add alongside young receivers like Jerry Juedy and KJ Hamler and they have a two-headed running back duo of veteran Melvin Gordon and rookie Javonte Williams. This is the reason that the quarterback position here has so much intrigue. This is a team that could be ascending with good QB play, but we cannot have confidence that this will occur.
We’ve gotten news in recent days that the Broncos may prefer offseason acquisition Teddy Bridgewater to incumbent Drew Lock, but I think we are aways from finding this out. I can’t imagine that this job is locked up by the preseason opener just because of the perceived upside of these two quarterbacks. I expect Brdgewater will be the starter based on his experience with a young offense, but I think that the Broncos would prefer Lock take a step forward and win the job
Denver Broncos Key Players
While we know that the QBs will be a topic of conversation,the Broncos offense could hinge on the second-year leap of Jeudy, an elite prospect who had his ups and downs in his rookie year. Jeudy was very impressive when it came to earning targets, — one of the things that is most predictive in overall wide receiver production and talent — but he didn’t produce the stats you’d expect with his overall target share. Jeudy did struggle with drops and also had poor quarterback play that didn’t set him up for success. The drops are a bit concerning, but it’s not something that showed up for Jeudy as a prospect, so it appears to be more of a fluke and related to QB play and inexperience rather than bad hands. Jeudy should make a leap and become a player defenses have to key in on this season
Miller is another wild card that the Broncos need to produce for them to reach their full potential. Miller is one of the NFL’s top defensive players and has been a dominant presence for years. However, Miller is on the wrong side of 30 and missed all of 2020 after a serious ankle injury in early September. If Miller can return as an elite player, that makes everything much easier for the rest of the defense and the team as a whole. If this is not the case, the Broncos will be relying on a lot of youth to become the best defensive players on the team.
Denver Broncos New Additions
The Broncos brought in veteran QB Bridgewater to compete with Lock, who hasn’t shown the potential that the Broncos likely expected when drafting him a few years back. Lock hasn’t been in an elite offense, but some of that must fall on his shoulders. Is it possible that Lock makes a jump after a Covid offseason threw him off in 2020? Yes, but it’s not something that the Broncos felt supremely confident about when we look at this move.
They also brought in top-10 draft pick Pat Surtain Jr. at cornerback. He should step in and become a day-one starter on a defense that has had elite play at the position on and off for the last decade. Denver’s defense is predicated on the dominance of its corners on a bit of an island and expect the team to put Surtain in vulnerable situations early and often. Along with Surtain, they also signed Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller to solidify their CB play because of the team’s reliance on that position and their struggles last season.
The Broncos also drafted Javonte Williams early and this is another intriguing offensive move with Philip Lindsey moving on and Gordon lacking the explosiveness he had earlier in his career.
Denver Broncos Key Subtractions
The most notable loss here is Lindsey, but that shouldn’t be felt too much with the addition of Williams to the room. Overall, the Broncos did add more than they lost to a relatively young team and that means that they should be looking for significant improvement this season.
The AFC West is looking to make a move as one of the more intriguing divisions in the NFL with the Chargers and the Broncos moving closer to win now mode than they were a year ago. They are not all the way there yet, especially with the Chiefs probably making these teams hesitant to go all in.
The Broncos are +450 to win the AFC West and the +600 Chargers are next. Las Vegas has the Raiders (+1600) as an irrelevant team for all intents and purposes in the conference with more or less no chance to win the division.
Everyone knows that the Broncos are chasing the Chiefs and beating them would likely mean that they have emerged as a Super Bowl favorite. I don’t think that we can rely on this from Denver. I would prefer a bet on the over win total if you want to bet on the young talent on the roster instead of losing a +450 bet even if they do go 12-5 and finish three games back of the Chiefs.
Denver Broncos Offense
The offense should definitely improve this season with another option at QB that we know is competent and should not hold the team back as much if they all begin to flash. Bridgewater is not elevating a team, but he is also not throwing two bad picks each game and setting the team back. Having this as an option is really nice when looking for a bit more stability on offense.
They also get Sutton back alongside Jeudy and Hamler and it’s possible that inserting Sutton as the No. 1 wideout will help everyone involved and help Jeudy make that leap we were talking about earlier. They also should have a running game that is competent, especially if they eventually lean into featuring Williams.
Denver Broncos Defense
The Broncos have relied on elite defense for years with big names and a great scheme keeping them in games while the offense hasn’t had a clear path to wins year in and year out. Last season was a bit of a letdown and they have invested in defensive backs and expect Von Miller to come back and impact the defense. I expect an improvement here, especially if Fuller and Surtain can develop into a lock-down duo on the back end.
Denver Broncos FAQs
What is the Denver Broncos’ all-time record?
Who owns the Denver Broncos?
The Bowlen Family Trust
How many Super Bowls have the Denver Broncos won?
3 (1997, 1998, 2015)
Who is the quarterback for the Denver Broncos?
No one knows, but either Teddy Bridgewater or Drew Lock, barring a trade