3 keys to propel Broncos from worst to first in AFC West

Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs
Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs / David Eulitt/GettyImages
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This upcoming NFL season will mark the Denver Broncos' fourth consecutive chance to climb from 'worst to first' in the gauntlet that is the AFC West.

So, let's ask the question again: is the 2023-24 season finally going to yield a different outcome? Or, should we just start the countdown for this exact same article to run one year from now?

If you ask Pro Football Focus, who recently ranked the teams most likely to accomplish what the Broncos have repeatedly failed to do over the past few seasons, the Orange and Blue was chosen as the division's nominee to finally topple Chiefs Kingdom.

But to be the hero that ends Kansas City's reign of terror over the AFC West, what else, beyond the obvious (a la a Russell Wilson renaissance) will have to happen?

Denver Broncos key no. 1: Winning record in the division

It doesn't get more obvious than this, but in order to win your division, no matter the sport, you have to take care of divisional rivals... going 16-32 in such games since 2015 is not going to cut it.

So, how does a team produce a paltry .333 win percentage against its greatest foes? This might answer your question:

  • 15 straight losses to the Chiefs (third-longest streak of any team against an opponent in NFL history)
  • Six consecutive losses to the Raiders (including a 2-8 record in the last 10 meetings)
  • Three straight road defeats against the Chargers (although the Broncos are 10-6 versus the Chargers going back to 2015)

For context, the last time the Broncos posted a winning record in their division was 2015, finishing 4-2 en route to a Super Bowl 50 victory. Now, I'm not saying that success in the division automatically correlates to a Lombardi trophy, but it without a doubt builds character.

Silencing a raucous rival crowd on the road, running a successful two-minute drill in crunch time, and defeating the same opponent twice, all of these things are defining moments for successful teams; something the Broncos have surely not been in recent memory.

The 2023-24 season starts and ends with the AFC West, both literally and figuratively.