The Denver Broncos are a team on a mission to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy. With the team clinching the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC and home-field advantage throughout, this is a story that is far too familiar. In fact, the Broncos were in this exact situation last season with a 13-3 record that led to the No. 1 seed. The 2012 Broncos were only a few seconds away from their first AFC Championship Game since 2005, but an ill-timed play on a deep pass was the play that saved the current Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens and began the crushing defeat the Broncos would endure. Now fast forward to Jan. 2, 2014. The Broncos are in the exact same spot, but the only difference is that the Ravens will not be attending the dance to thwart the team’s chances. However, the Broncos have improved on offense adding by Wes Welker, and having the emergence of tight end Julius Thomas makes this Broncos team quite a force.
So that’s where the question lies. Are the Broncos of 2013 better than the team that won 11 straight regular season games in 2012?
From multiple angles it can be agreed that they are. The only change that I have seen from 2012 to 2013 is a role reversal. While the offense was getting used to transitioning from Tim Tebow to Peyton Manning the defense was actually a solid unit. Now that the offense has gotten used to Manning, the defense has seemed to take a step back even though it can still get pressure on the quarterback as well as get the turnover that could change the game.
However, there is one thing that the team needs to do that it hasn’t done since 2005: Advance to the AFC Championship Game. Tebow was able to help the Broncos win their first playoff game in the Wild Card round — something that Manning has yet to do despite his great career — but there is a feeling that this could be the year the Broncos make the loudest noise possible.