The Denver Broncos seem like a team that could either bottom out or compete for a division title in 2023. They are the NFL's most interesting team this year. I think many of us are quite nervous about the Broncos, for many reasons. Firstly, how will Russell Wilson look? Will he bounce back under the expertise of Sean Payton?
How will Sean Payton do as head coach? Was his success in New Orleans more because of Drew Brees? Is the Broncos' roster good enough? There doesn't appear to be a major weakness, so can this roster compete with the best in the NFL? There are a lot of questions that the Denver Broncos need to answer this year, and I think because of that, they are the most interesting team in the NFL in the 2023 season.
For years after Peyton Manning retired, Denver seemed to be a "we're just a quarterback away" team. They cycled through middling veterans like Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, Joe Flacco, Case Keenum, and Teddy Bridgewater. They also had two failed draft picks in Paxton Lynch and Drew Lock. Finally, with the Russell Wilson trade in 2022, the Broncos finally had their QB, or so they thought.
Wilson went on to endure the worst season of his NFL career by far, and many have questioned Wilson's viability in the NFL as a competent starter. Now, in 2023, things seem to be trending up. Russell Wilson has dropped 15 pounds and is back to his normal playing weight. He's used his legs more this offseason. Sean Payton has even said that he thinks Wilson will be closer to his 2020 and 2021 numbers than his 2022 numbers.
However, the fear of the unknown is what is keeping many people from buying into the 2023 Denver Broncos. The team does have a good defense and appears to have a solid offensive line and effective playmakers. What makes Denver so interesting is how their season can go. I think if they hit their stride, and Payton and Wilson end up working well together, this team likely wins double-digit games and perhaps even competes for a division title.
Sean Payton and Russell Wilson have a chance to be one of the very best HC/QB duos in the NFL over the next few years if they are able to work well together and Wilson is able to work within the offense. Payton and Wilson have won at the highest level and are one of only three HC/QB duos currently in the NFL who have won a Super Bowl.
Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford won the Super Bowl in 2021, and Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes won the Super Bowl in 2019 and 2022. Payton and Wilson have a strong pedigree, but could they each be over the hump? That's where the floor of the 2023 Denver Broncos comes from. Payton and Wilson are both way past their respective primes, and the Broncos likely bottom out.
Russell Wilson isn't much better than he was in 2022 and perhaps even the defense underperforms under Vance Joseph. Denver eeks their way to five or six wins and the team once again endures another irrelevant year. The difference between the ceiling and floor of this team is quite astounding, and I think that's why the Denver Broncos are the most interesting team in the NFL this year.