Heading into camp, we’ll take a quick look through the opponents on the 2014 schedule.
Third up: The Denver Broncos
When: Sunday, Sept. 21, 1:25 p.m at CenturyLink Field
Last season: 13-3; season ended with 43-8 loss in Super Bowl XLVIII
What went right: The most prolific offense in NFL history. With Peyton Manning at the controls, Denver rolled while averaging 37.9 points per game. Manning threw for 5,477 yards, an NFL regular-season record. The Broncos had four receivers with 778 receiving yards or more, including two (Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker) with at least 1,288 yards. The numbers were staggering, then rendered meaningless in the Super Bowl.
What did not: Special teams. The Broncos were last in the league in kickoff coverage, allowing 29.3 yards per game. They were 22nd in punt return coverage. Denver’s poor kickoff coverage was something Percy Harvin and the Seahawks exploited in the Super Bowl. Also, the Broncos had an inexplicable Super Bowl offensive gameplan. They intentionally did what the Seahawks tried to force opponents to do: which was throw shallow. Obviously, that did not work.
2014 Super Bowl odds: 13-2 (tied with the Seahawks as the favorites)
Key offseason addition(s): DeMarcus Ware and Aqib Talib. The Broncos gave Ware a three-year, $30 million deal with a whopping $23 million guaranteed. Ware had a career-low six sacks last year when he played 13 games and dealt with multiple injuries. Otherwise, he has a ferocious track record. Denver was 13th in the league last year in sacks. Talib gives the Broncos a needed upgrade at cornerback. They brought in one of the larger and more physical corners in the league on a six-year deal. Out are Dominique Rogers-Cromartie and Champ Bailey.
Key offseason loss: Wesley Woodyard. Woodyard was second on the team in tackles out of his middle linebacker spot. Von Miller and Danny Trevathan are excellent linebackers on either side. Denver will turn to Nate Irving and Jamar Chaney in the middle when they are not in their two-linebacker nickel sets.
Last regular-season meeting: Sept. 19, 2010 at Denver, the Broncos won, 31-14.