The Denver Broncos have shown a ton of improvement from 2022 to 2023, and many of their victories have come against playoff teams. The Broncos haven't exactly had the easiest schedule in 2023, and in their toughest stretch of the season, they went 4-0, beating the Chiefs, Bills, Vikings, and Browns in four consecutive weeks.
The Broncos will have at least eight wins this year, and when you look at just how dysfunctional they were last year, eight wins should be viewed as a massive success. Something that should also be viewed as very successful is if they beat the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 18, they'll be 9-8 on the year, which would be their first winning record since 2016.
By all accounts, the Broncos have been much-improved this year, and beating a ton of good teams should be an encouraging sight for the future. They've beaten three double-digit win teams this year, and ever since starting 1-5, they've since gone 7-3 with a chance to finish 8-3. Sometimes in the NFL, results aren't always immediate.
Sean Payton clearly hired a strong staff in Denver, but many questions arose when the team started 1-5. Perhaps it just took some time before the team showed progress under the new regime. And when the season ends, I think it's way more fair to view the Broncos as "The team that finished 7-4 or 8-3 to end the season" rather than "The team that started 1-5 and gave up 70 points to the Miami Dolphins."
As we progress into the 2024 NFL offseason, Payton will surely try to deploy his plan to get his team back to where they were in the early-mid 2010s. He's surely gotten a solid gauge of where this roster is and what players he does and does not want to keep. And even though Denver has already been eliminated from the postseason, it's hard to not be encouraged by this team.
The Broncos will end the season with potentially five of their wins coming against playoff teams, and that's certainly worth talking about.