The Denver Broncos not only have a chance to win the Super Bowl this season but could also greatly disappoint in the upcoming season.
I think it’s fair that many within the fanbase want to hold off on setting too lofty expectations for the Denver Broncos in 2022.
There has been a ton of movement with a new coaching staff, new quarterback, and the potential for several new starters on the defense.
The amount of change that the team has undergone in the past few months is absurd, so taking a cautiously optimistic approach is fair.
On the other hand, many have seen the amount of positive change that the team has made and have set very high expectations for the team.
There isn’t a reason to believe that the team can’t win the Super Bowl this year. They’ve got a Super Bowl-winning quarterback and a loaded roster.
While being optimistic like that is fair, it’s also fair to think that the team might not be as successful as some think.
So I think the right thing to do here is to look at the absolute best-case and worst-case scenarios for the Denver Broncos, because Denver may just fall right in between those two extremes.
Let’s start with the best-case scenario.
The team’s schedule is about average in terms of the winning percentage of their opponents. It’s not an overly hard or easy schedule, but it is divided up as such.
The Denver Broncos have just about the league’s easiest schedule during their first-half games, and just about the league’s hardest schedule during their remaining second-half games.
Their first eight games are against the following teams: Seahawks, Texans, 49ers, Raiders, Colts, Chargers, Jets, and Jaguars.
These games will take the Denver Broncos to their bye week after their London game against the Jaguars.
There is an argument to be made that Denver has a more talented team than each of their first eight opponents.
But, I think the absolute best-case scenario for them is a 7-1 start. While I think they could win their first eight games, they will have tough matchups against the Raiders, Colts, and Chargers.
All three teams have viable offenses and defenses, and Denver could even lose all three games.
However, in the best-case scenario, winning two of these three games would be a good thing for them.
7-1, as they head into the bye week, is surely going to put them at the very top of the AFC.
A 7-1 record through eight games also likely means that the chemistry is developed; the offense is moving the ball at an adequate level, and the defense is holding their own like they usually do.
It would be a nice change of pace to see the Denver Broncos’ offense take a ton of pressure off their defense.
Their last nine games are against the following teams: Titans, Raiders, Panthers, Ravens, Chiefs, Cardinals, Rams, Chiefs, and Chargers.
It’s an absolute gauntlet during their final nine matchups, but as this is the best-case scenario, I think the team could potentially win six of their final nine games, with losses likely coming against the Chiefs, Rams, and Chargers.
These are three Super Bowl-caliber teams who have as good or better players than the Denver Broncos at most positions.
If Denver could go 6-3 during their final nine games, that would personally make me extremely excited for their playoff run as a 13-4 one or two seed.
From there, the best-case scenario is likely an AFC Championship game or Super Bowl appearance. Securing a top-two seed likely gives them home field throughout the postseason.
The best-case scenario, in my opinion, is a 13-4 regular season record, clinching a one or two seed in the AFC, and a run to the AFC Championship game or Super Bowl.
Remember, this is a best-case scenario, not necessarily what I think will happen.
As for the worst-case scenario, I think this is where the Denver Broncos don’t win as many games as they should during their first eight games. This likely means winning only 4 or 5 games, likely against the Seahawks, Texans, Jets, and Jaguars.
From there, Denver then only probably wins another 4 games during their last nine, likely against the Titans, Panthers, and Cardinals, and perhaps squeaking out a win against one of their three remaining matchups against the Raiders, Chargers, and Chiefs.
This would then lead to an 8-9 or 9-8 record, where the Broncos would probably not qualify for the playoffs.
It would almost be shocking to see a Russell Wilson-led offense not make the playoffs, as he’s led his teams to the playoffs nine of his 10 years in the NFL.
This would likely happen because of a rough year one for Nathaniel Hackett and his staff, coupled with some unfortunate injuries and a lack of chemistry.
I think the Denver Broncos are too good to only win eight or nine games and indicated earlier in the piece that I think the season ends up falling right in the middle of these two projections, so the Denver Broncos winning 10-12 games and making the playoffs as a high Wild Card seeded team I think is something the fanbase could get behind.
11-6 seems like a fair projection for the team, right?
This would probably give the Broncos the 5th or 6th seed in the AFC playoff race, and send them on the road to play somebody.
The Denver Broncos have one of the best rosters in the NFL heading into the 2022 season, but they are not without any weaknesses.
Overall, though, I think the best and worst-case scenarios listed in this article are both fair and accurate.