Big Names Need Reality Check In AFC West Predictions

The long awaited annual NFL preview from Sports Illustrated came out today. They see the Broncos finishing the 2010 season with a 7-9 record, 3rd in the AFC West, with the Chargers and the Raiders ahead of them.

Along with these predictions, Senior writer, Jim Trotter, wrote a piece about Kyle Orton explaining how Orton is ready to lead this Broncos team.

“Based on his performance in the preseason and at training camp, [Kyle] Orton could be poised for a career year. If he plays well, that would also allow the Broncos to bring along [Tim] Tebow at a controlled pace, and it would reaffirm [Josh] McDaniels’s message that hard work pays off.” (Sports Illustrated)

Sporting News was also especially harsh on the Broncos, predicting a last place finish and a 4-12 record for the team that went 8-8 last year.

While Sports Illustrated and Sporting New has their take on how the AFC West will play out, others have the Broncos finishing in a better position.

Locally, Mark Kiszla, of the Denver Post thinks that the Broncos have a great chance at making the playoffs.

“The division title is there for the taking by Denver. San Diego has lost its mojo, Kansas City isn’t quite ready for prime time and Oakland remains hopelessly lost in an Al Davis time warp.” (Denver Post)

Mike Wilkening of Pro Football Weekly believes the Broncos are true contenders in the division.

“I still hold that Denver is the primary threat to San Diego in the AFC West, and that puts the Broncos in the division-title discussion, for San Diego, while the superior team, can be prone to losing focus in the regular season. Some will say the Chiefs or Raiders might be ready to pass the Broncos in the pecking order, but I don’t believe it, as both clubs have shaky passing offenses and porous defenses. Yes, both clubs defeated the Broncos in Denver toward the end of last season, but I’m not going to put too much stock in those results.” (Pro Football Weekly)

Man Cave Sports believes that the Broncos will come in 2nd in the AFC West.

“The Broncos have a brutal first half schedule playing: at Jacksonville, Indianapolis, at Tennessee, at Baltimore, New York Jets, and at San Francisco. They will likely finish around .500 due to the difficulty of their 2010 slate.” (Man Cave Sports)

While many so-called experts see a Broncos team that has been hammered with injuries, many are failing to see the potential that this team has.

Based on what I’ve witnessed in training camp and in preseason games, Kyle Orton has improved dramatically. He’s more confident in the offense and Josh McDaniels has shaped the offense around Orton’s strengths. Defensively, the secondary is one of the strongest in the league. The guys on the D-line still have much to prove. However, they all have been established on other 3-4 AFC defenses.

Schedule wise, the Broncos play all of their tough games at home and all of their easier games on the road. Sporting News must have an autistic dog on site to make a 4-12 prediction for the Broncos.

It’s time for you to chime in.

Where will the Broncos finish the 2010 season in the AFC West?

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Tags: Afc West Prediction Denver Broncos Kyle Orton San Diego Chargers

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