Three negative trends that the Broncos must end in 2023

Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs
Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs / David Eulitt/GettyImages

2023 is set up to be a massive year for the Denver Broncos, and could hold a major role in which way the franchise is heading. The team is entering the first full season of the Walton-Penner ownership, George Paton as general manager, and Sean Payton as the head coach. The trio figures to be the most formidable brain trust at the top of the organization in a long time.

Additionally, the Broncos offense is entering a pivotal year: this will be the second full season of Russell Wilson, hopefully a fully healthy season for the receiving core, and a strong campaign from the revamped offensive line. However, if the Broncos are going to win in 2023, they need to drastically turn some aspects of their play around: here are four negative trends that the Broncos need to correct in 2023. For the sake of not stating the obvious, the playoff drought will not be included here.

1. Finishing Under .500 In The AFC West

Josh McDaniels, Brandon Staley
Las Vegas Raiders v Los Angeles Chargers / Harry How/GettyImages

Simply put, you can not be a playoff NFL team if you can not win within your own division. The Broncos have not been able to do that in quite some time. The Broncos have been subpar within their own division for quite some time now. The team has not finished over .500 in the division since 2015, the year in which they went 4-2 and notched their most recent victory agains the Chiefs.

What makes this even more frustrating is that the AFC West has been mediocre for some time now, and was not the bloodbath that many figured it would be in 2022. The Raiders and Chargers have each made the playodds a few times since the Broncos last did, but both have also had some very mediocre seasons and made minimal noise. The Raiders have shipped Derek Carr out of town, and the Chargers seem to reinvent the wheel of "Chargering" every year. Meanwhile, the Broncos have not capitalized on a weak division one bit, and have instead been the worst team in the division since Gary Kubiak left after the 2016 season. If the Broncos are going to make any noise in 2023, they'll need to start by being competitive in their own division.

2. Chiefs Losing Streak

Chris Jones - American Football Defensive Tackle, Willie Gay Jr.
Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs / David Eulitt/GettyImages

The most embarrassing part of being a Broncos fan over the last handful of years has been the annual two losses to the Chiefs. The Broncos have not beat the Chiefs since they had only two Super Bowls, Bradley Robey was a still up-and-coming corner, and Sean Payton still had six more years left in New Orleans before stepping down. Needless to say, its been a while since the Broncos beat the Chiefs. The Broncos have given them a ton of competitive games the last few years, including two last year, but the all elusive win has yet to come their way.

If the Broncos are going to change anything in Denver, it starts with Kansas City. The Broncos have never beat Patrick Mahomes, and have been little brother to Kansis City for some time now. The past handful of years for the Broncos, all dreadful ones, are lumped together with their inability to beat the Chiefs. The Broncos have played second fiddle, been often times embarrassed and belittled, and just flat out destroyed by the Chiefs for the last fifteen times out, which is just insane to think about. That needs to change.

If the Broncos can knock off the reigning Super Bowl champions next year, the Broncos can signal a change in Denver: a change in leadership, moral, and culture at Mile High. This would also give the Broncos something to build on, a trait they've been missing the last handufl of years. The Broncos have had some big wins or wins to build on, but they've missed that foundational win and have been unable to find it. Beating Kansas City would be just that.

3. Quarterback Stability

Russell Wilson
Los Angeles Chargers v Denver Broncos / Justin Edmonds/GettyImages

The most games started by a Bronco in a two-year span since 2015 is Drew Trevor Semian starting 24 games between 2016 and 2017. Needless to say, that is bad. The next closes was the 18 starts that Drew Lock made between 2019 and 2020. The Broncos need stability at the quarterback position in the worst way, and Russell Wilson gives them the chance for that.

Russ started fifteen games for the Broncos last year, meaning he would only need to start nine games next year to top the post-Manning mark set by Siemian back in 2017. Russ needs to be better in most every aspect of his game, that goes without saying, however, this article is also not about his play. Simply put, starting every game this year for the Broncos would give them an every game starter, something they haven't had since Case Keenum started all 16 games back in 2018.

Wilson and the Broncos desperately need stability on the offensive side. In fact, the only positions that have seen stability over the last handful of years would be left tackle with Garrett Bolles, and the receiver core, with a handful of names who are entering their fourt season or more with the team, and Courtland Sutton entering his sixth. Stability would also help the offense build some momentum and a connection amongst the group, something they have not had since the Manning years.