By DJ Siddiqi @DJSiddiqi on June 10, 2014
The Denver Broncos have finished with the AFC's best record over the past two seasons. Unfortunately, the Broncos have yet to capitalize on their regular season success by winning the Lombardi Trophy. The Broncos were one step closer in the 2013 season but were defeated by the Seattle Seahawks, 43-8, in Super Bowl XLVIII. Here are five early predictions for the Broncos in 2014.
Peyton Manning led the NFL in passing touchdowns (55), passing yards (5,477) and completions (450) at the age of 37 in 2013. No one frets over Manning's past neck surgeries anymore. Is there any reason to believe he'll slow down in 2014? The rules in the NFL are bent in favor of the quarterbacks. With the Broncos once again possessing the league's most best offense, Manning will lead the NFL in passing for a second straight season.
The Broncos return a different look with their cornerback group in 2014, as Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Champ Bailey are no longer with the team. The Broncos have replaced Cromartie and Bailey with Aqib Talib and first-round draft pick Bradley Roby. The Broncos should be better against the pass in 2014, but they will go through their struggles as Talib and Roby adjust to Denver's defensive scheme for the first time.
The Broncos finished tied for the league's best record in 2013 with the Seattle Seahawks at 13-3. In 2014, the Broncos will finish with the league's best record all alone. The Seahawks face the task of being the defending Super Bowl Champions with a target on their backs. Not only that, but they face stiff competition in the NFC West from three teams that could reasonably compete for a playoff spot in 2014. Expect the Broncos to finish 14-2.
The AFC is a weak conference. The conference will be a bit stronger this year as the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens return to playoff form. However, expect the last two teams to once again be the Broncos and the New England Patriots. For the second straight season, the two teams will meet in the AFC Championship Game. For the fifth time in their careers, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will meet in the postseason.
The Broncos were humiliated by the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII in one of the worst Super Bowl defeats in NFL history. With the Broncos seeking redemption for that loss, don't expect the same result for a second straight season. The Broncos will end the 2014 season as Super Bowl Champions. After two consecutive seasons of embarrassing playoff defeats, the Broncos will finally lift the Lombardi Trophy.
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