Jan 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) drops back to pass in the second half against the New England Patriots during the 2013 AFC championship playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
2012 – Denver Broncos Wins: (13) Passer Rating: 105.8 Y/PA: 8.0
2013 – Denver Broncos Wins: (13) Passer Rating: 115.1 Y/PA: 8.3
2 Year Average- Wins: (13) Passer Rating: 110.5 Y/PA: 8.15
Manning’s last two seasons have easily been the best in Broncos’ history from a statistical standpoint, yet Denver has not been able to reach their goal of winning a Super Bowl. Peyton has become the gold standard by which all other quarterbacks are judged (in the regular season at least). That said, it is unrealistic and unfair to expect another 5,000 yard and 50 touchdown season from him. If the Broncos’ intentions are to become a more balanced and more playoff-ready team then I’m willing to sacrifice some Madden stats for a Lombardi Trophy.
There is no “Plan B” as we’ve known all along, and although they made moves in the off-season to improve the defense, the Denver Broncos know they will still ultimately live and die with Peyton Manning. It will be hard for even the most objective fan to pick against them at any point this season as long as Manning is under center and the defense improves even a little bit. That being said, I’m more bearish on them than most this season due to their projected difficult schedule, and think an 11 or 12 win season and the #2 seed in the playoffs is about as much as anyone can expect. That doesn’t change the ultimate goal or expectation of a Super Bowl championship, it just means they may have to take the hard road to get there.