How the Denver Broncos can Make the Playoffs

How the Denver Broncos can Make the Playoffs

by August 30, 2019 0 comments

The Denver Broncos are in a position this season to take a big jump forward after an off-season marked by significant moves in the coaching staff, quarterback, secondary and offensive line groups. The Broncos last season had problems with QB play, overall team health, depth concerns, and turnovers/penalties that ultimately cost them a lot of games.

This season, the schedule is definitely more difficult, but with a handful of improvements, the Broncos could be fighting for a playoff spot.

Here are five keys to making Denver a playoff team again:

Quarterback play upgrade

Last season, Case Keenum was the unlucky beneficiary of an overall poor offensive unit and as a result, he had a less than a desirable season. He had the most interceptions in his career, throwing 15 in 16 games when the season before he threw seven in 15 games.

His wide receiver crew consisted of mostly rookies after the trade of Demaryius Thomas and the Emmanuel Sanders injury in December. The tight end room was completely exhausted, utilizing fifth-string TE Matt LaCosse as a focal point during Denver’s last five games.

The offensive line was makeshift at best and often didn’t provide the pass protection he needed. As a result of the 6-10 2018 season, the Broncos went out and solidified some of the position groups around the QB and got Joe Flacco from the Baltimore Ravens who was being cast away after 11 seasons.

By upgrading the offensive line, drafting a tight end in the first round, expecting internal development from the second-year wide receivers, and continued support from a talented running back room, Joe Flacco should be in a position to lead a solid offensive unit.

Overall roster health holds up

Last season the Broncos were in a decent position after Week 12, at 6-6, with four winnable games left, to be a 9-7 or even a 10-6 team, but roster health couldn’t hold up and losing key players at inopportune times cost the team.

Ron Leary, Emmanuel Sanders, Matt Paradis, Chris Harris Jr, Jake Butt, Jeff Heuerman, and Phillip Lindsay are just some of the players that weren’t available at the end of the season and the depth couldn’t cover for the lack of health. This season, health is the most important factor, especially at offensive line, wide receiver, and linebacker where the depth seemingly isn’t there.

Every team has to endure injuries, but for the Broncos to be a playoff team, they need to remain healthy, especially their key impact players and positions that are lacking depth.

Wide receiver group shows improvement

Wide receiver is a position that the Broncos need to take a leap forward. Emmanuel Sanders is back from Achilles surgery and Courtland Sutton needs to prove he’s a top-25 NFL wide receiver.

Meanwhile, DaeSean Hamilton and Tim Patrick need to be reliable third and fourth options. The receiver position group is important for this roster to prevent opposing defenses from stacking the box against the run. A balanced offensive attack gives the Broncos the best shot at success.

Reduce offensive miscues

In 2018, the Broncos were the 15th ranked team in total turnovers with 15 interceptions and six fumbles lost for 21 total turnovers. The Broncos in 2019 need to reduce the number of turnovers if they want to have a chance to improve.

Luckily, the 2018 defense also generated the fifth-most turnovers with 28, giving the team a positive turnover ratio. With more care on the offensive side of the ball, reducing the number of mistakes can lead to a significant increase in turnover ratio and more wins.

Take fewer penalties

Finally, death by inches was the name of the game last year for the Broncos and coach Vic Fangio looks to minimize the mental mistakes and mitigate self-inflicted wounds. The Broncos in 2018 were the most penalized non-playoff team in the NFL with 149 total penalties and 125 total accepted against them, for 985 total yards. Reducing this number is an absolute must.

The Broncos seemingly have made positive moves toward improving their standing in the league, but in order to show they are a playoff team, these five pieces are the keys to success. Only time will tell, but as long as the talent is there, they have put themselves in position to compete in every game.

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