Three worst-case scenarios for the Broncos in Week 1

Los Angeles Rams v Denver Broncos
Los Angeles Rams v Denver Broncos / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages
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1) Russell Wilson's 2022 Carries Over Into 2023

Russell Wilson
Denver Broncos v San Francisco 49ers / Loren Elliott/GettyImages

If things are ugly for Russ in Week 1, it will be a long week for the Broncos before they step on the field again. The entire build-up to Sean Payton and Russell Wilson has been around Payton getting the best out of Russ, and Russ returning to Seahawks form.

The Raiders, despite question marks heading into 2023, have not lost to the Broncos since 2019, and possess a pass rusher who is more than capable of becoming a one-man wrecking crew. If Maxx Crosby breaks loose in game one, expect the Broncos' offense to look weaker than anticipated, and the consistent rush might lead Russ to drop off and hit shorter routes more than he intends to.

If Russ performs poorly, expect some level of a media whirlwind, too. The entire focus of this past off-season had been on Sean Payton and Russell Wilson. Critics mention there is no chance Russ can bounce back, optimists say that Wilson and Payton are the perfect pair. Researchers note the success Payton had with an array of quarterbacks at the end of his Saints gig. However, some of those voices will get quiter, and the opposites louder, if Russ struggles against the Raiders.

Additionally, the Raiders secondary is nothing to write home over. If the Broncos struggle through the air against Las Vegas, things can get ugly quickly.