NBC Sports’ Peter King believes the Broncos improved in the offseason, but he predicted they won’t make the playoffs, citing the difficulty of the AFC West.
“This year’s AFC West is the toughest division I remember since the NFL went to eight four-team divisions in 2002,” King wrote. “All four teams have at least 10 games against 2021 teams with winning records.”
According to The Athletic, the Broncos have the 15th-toughest schedule in the NFL. Unfortunately for the Broncos, it’s challenging in the second half. In the final five weeks, Denver faces the Chiefs twice, and on Christmas Day, the Broncos play at the defending champion Rams.
Kansas City has defeated the Broncos in their past 13 matchups. Peyton Manning was still playing for the Broncos and Patrick Mahomes was a sophomore at Texas Tech the last time Denver beat Kansas City.
The Broncos have struggled against the Chargers and Raiders as well. Over the past two years, the Broncos have won two divisional games and finished last in the AFC West.
New Denver QB Russell Wilson navigated difficult divisions in Seattle. However, his Seahawks teams benefited from experience at head coach. Denver’s Nathaniel Hackett is a rookie head coach, unlike Seattle’s Pete Carroll, who has 17 seasons as NFL head coach.
In Week 1, Denver plays at the Seahawks, Wilson’s former team.