How good are the Broncos now?

Even with Peyton Manning, Denver faces some major hurdles

Originally Published: March 19, 2012
By Aaron Schatz | Football Outsiders
Peyton ManningAP Photo/Ross D. FranklinPeyton Manning will be a huge quarterback upgrade for the Denver Broncos.

Insider Peyton Manning content:

Manning's fantasy impact | Williamson: Manning's fit in Denver's offense | Schatz: How good is Denver now? | Kiper: Fits for Tim Tebow | NFL Rumors

We've discovered the one thing that could possibly surpass Tebow-Mania in Denver: Peyton-Mania. Now that Peyton Manning will be wearing blue and orange in 2012, expectations for the Broncos are climbing through the roof. Some Las Vegas oddsmakers have moved the Denver Broncos up to 10-1 odds to win Super Bowl XLVII, ranking them behind only Green Bay, New England and New Orleans.

Denver fans have reason to be excited, but the Broncos shouldn't be printing up Super Bowl tickets just yet.

On the surface, you would think that adding Manning to an 8-8 team would make that team into an 11-5 or 12-4 Super Bowl contender. Even if we think Manning is healthy enough to be a facsimile of the 2008-10 version, it's difficult to believe that the Broncos are truly a .500 team without him.

Despite slipping into the playoffs by winning a three-way tiebreaker at the top of the AFC West, the 2011 Broncos were not a good team. They were outscored by 81 points; based on simply points scored and allowed, the Broncos projected to be a 6-10 team. They finished 24th in the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings, and our "estimated wins" method, which projects wins based on performance in specific offense and defensive splits, has Denver at 7.3 wins.


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