Why the Broncos aren’t making the playoffs
The Denver Broncos will not repeat as Super Bowl champions.
Only three teams have repeated in the last 25 years — the evil Cowboys, Elway’s Broncos, and, certainly in local eyes, the evil Patriots. And the Pats last did it 12 years ago.
The NFL is all about parity and makes it all but impossible — through scheduling, draft position and the salary cap — for teams to repeat as was the case with the Packers of Lombardi, the Dolphins, the Steelers and beloved 49ers.
But as you dust off your beloved No. 7 jersey and position yourself in front of the big screen with the appropriate food and beverage tonight— as all good Americans should — here’s something to consider.
The Broncos will not make the playoffs this year.
Freud’s not being a hater. (I never thought I would type a sentence like that.)
When your third-string quarterback, Austin Davis, is the only guy on the team who has thrown a pass in a NFL game, the season isn’t going to end well.
Trevor Siemian and/or Paxton Lynch may turn into good quarterbacks, but it ain’t going to be this year. Opposing teams will sit on the run and take their chances with Siemian or Lynch beating them.
Here are the two arguments you’re going to give me:
• The Broncos defense is awesome and will keep them in games. … Yes, the defense is terrific, but we’re not talking the level of the ’85 Bears, who actually could outscore other teams. Plus with Denver’s offense not exactly being a juggernaut, this unit is going to be on the field more.
• Peyton Manning wasn’t very good last year, so Siemian actually has an arm and will be better … Nope. Opposing teams had to respect Manning, even if he wasn’t throwing well, because he was Peyton Manning. Siemian/Miller won’t be afforded that respect. Teams will sit on the run then send the house on second- and third-and-longs.
And then there’s the schedule — the Broncos open with Carolina, Indianapolis and at Cincinnati. The Texans are coming to town for the Brock Osweiler Bowl and Denver has to go to New England late in the season, meaning not the first four weeks when Tom Brady is out.
That’s just outside of the AFC West, where two games each with the Chiefs and Raiders await. Denver, at best goes 9-7, which won’t make the playoffs, but is more likely 8-8 or 7-9. The Chiefs will end the Broncos run of five straight division titles.
Cincinnati is ready to supplant Pittsburgh as the division champion. I know Andy Dalton has the rep for not winning a playoff game, but he breaks through this year. (Had he not been hurt, the Bengals would have won the Bloodbath Bowl, aka their playoff game against the Steelers last year.)
Steelers are a wild card.
It would be kind of nice for Indianapolis to get an offensive line to protect Andrew Luck. But since the Colts aren’t doing that, Brock and the Texans win the division. As long as Osweiler realizes he doesn’t have to do much — and he doesn’t — he’s landed in a nice place.
Yes, Brady is out for the first four games, and it doesn’t matter. The Patriots will find a way to survive because they do. (Seriously, stop writing New England’s obituary. As much as people may hate them, the Pats are going to be good until Brady and Lord Hoodie retire.)
The Jets are a wild card out of this division because the Rex Ryan will do something silly with the Bills.
Everyone’s hot on the Cardinals to win the West, the NFC and, perhaps, the Super Bowl. Do remember, though, that the Seahawks had a hangover last year from their Super Bowl loss to the Pats.
Seattle is under the radar and that’s a good thing. Seattle wins the West with the Cards — why does one ever count on Carson Palmer? — are a wild card.
And could we please have a moment of silence for my Niners?
Teddy Bridgewater blows his ACL on a non-contact play in practice. That is so Vikings, say, like shanking a field goal wide left in the playoffs. (Yes, we’re kicking the proverbial dog while it’s down.)
This remains the Packers’ fiefdom with the Vikings sliding in as the second wild card.
Yes, Cam Newton and the Panthers aren’t very popular around here, but they’re good enough to hold off Tampa Bay. (By the way, I miss the Bucs’ Creamsicles.)
A bad division, which NBC would still try to televise 18 times during a 17-week schedule, if it could. We’ll go with the Giants — yes, we realize this is football, not baseball. New York added some defense and the Giants usually pop out of no where every few years.
And, it’s a real darn shame the Cowboys stink, with or without Tony Romo.
Super Bowl LI
The Patriots over the Pack.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.