As a Colts fan, it still hurts to see Peyton Manning holding up a Broncos jersey. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it, but I wish him the best. I think he’ll be a nice addition in Denver, but for how long remains to be seen.
Denver lucked into the playoffs last year and managed to use their remaining luck to win a playoff team against Pittsburgh. They were then blown out by New England the following week. Denver’s front office realized that Tim Tebow could only get them so far. Once Manning went on the market, Tebow’s time in Denver was numbered.
How will Manning’s neck hold up after a couple in-game hits? Who will end up with the most rushing yards at the end of the year, McGahee, Moreno or Hillman? Here’s our 2012 NFL team preview for the Denver Broncos.
2011 Win/Loss Record: 8-8
Key Additions: QB Peyton Manning, QB Caleb Hanie, TE Jacob Tamme, CB Tracy Porter, FB Chris Gronkowski, LB Joe Mays, TE Joel Dressen, WR Andre Caldwell, DT Justin Bannem, WR Cameron Kenney, S Mike Adams, RB Ronnie Hillman, QB Brock Osweiler, DT Derek Wolfe, CB Omar Bolden and C Phillip Blake.
Key Losses: QB Tim Tebow, S Brian Dawkins, WR Eddie Royal, TE Dante Rosario, QB Brady Quinn, TE Daniel Fells, DT Brodrick Bunkley, DB Cassius Vaughn, LB Mario Haggan, DE Derrick Harvey, FB Spencer Larsen, DT Ryan McBean and CB Jonathan Wilhite.
Non-Division Schedule: AFC North and NFC South
Fantasy Sleeper: WR Brandon Stokley – Peyton Manning and Brandon Stokley are old friends and have worked out together this off-season. They were also teammates together in Indianapolis. Stokley had 1,000+ yards and 10 TDs with Manning in 2004. They have amazing chemistry together and will be a huge asset in the slot. Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas will have success in 2012, but they are known commodities and with Manning in Denver, both will be drafted higher than most predict.
Team Analysis: Manning will have success in Denver, but don’t expect his numbers to match his production in Indy, not yet. He could put up comparable number by the second-half, but he will need to get some in-game action to trust his neck. He has worked with his receivers, so chemistry shouldn’t be a huge factor. Ronnie Hillman is slated to be the featured back in Denver, but expect McGahee to get action out of the backfield. He is an elite pass-catching back and will still be a viable fantasy option. Also, as far as fantasy goes, Jacob Tamme is a player to keep an eye on. In 2011, Denver’s defense looked elite at times, but the constant ‘three and outs’ left the defense with their backs against the wall. Manning will not leave the defense in those spots like Tebow did last year. I expect Von Miller, Wesley Woodyard, and Robert Ayers to have careers years in Denver. Denver and San Diego will battle for the AFC West crown. Manning hasn’t had much success against San Diego in the past, so the Chargers could end up winning the division by a tiebreaker.
2012 Wins Over/Under Line: 8.5 (Prediction: OVER)
2012 Projected Win/Loss Record: 9-7