Hello, everyone: did you miss me?! I'd say I missed you, but I never really left! I've kept an eye on the site and an ear to the conversation all along. Some of you might remember me from my time on the main writing staff, and others yet may recall my involvement in the community before and/or after that stint. I've been on the "other side" of more than one of our civil wars, and yet I persist. I persist because what we have in common outweighs what we don't. I'm writing this today because I think MHR could use my different perspective once again. But enough about me and the past: let's get to why we are here together right now. Join me below the fold to discuss the 2012 Denver Broncos!
Before the season started, I evaluated our roster and schedule, and came up with a predicted final record of 8-8. Some of my assumptions have already proven wrong, but they basically balance out in such a way as to leave unchanged our inability to exceed those expectations. In fact, I forecasted our Broncos to be 2-3 after five games - with wins over Pittsburgh and Oakland - facing a season-defining trip to San Diego on Monday Night Football this week. But, is our prime-time encounter against the hated Bolts really the valid litmus test for these Broncos that I expected?
Apologists point to the pedigree of the three teams that have defeated Denver thus far - the Falcons, Texans, and Patriots have all solidified their standing as Super Bowl contenders - as an excuse for how those games went. In fact, they claim that how those games ended was the real takeaway from those match-ups, as opposed to how they got to there. Critics could just as easily highlight extenuating circumstances that cheapen our wins. Neither the Steelers nor Raiders look like contenders, both games were in the comfort of Mile High, and our opponents were each handicapped by significant absences. The bottom line for me is that this franchise is long past the point of savoring moral victories, and this roster wasn't put together for its potential. As such, our divisional showdown on MNF is more risk than reward. If we win, we only prove that we may well be the best of bad teams; but if we lose, then the season might already be lost.
The truth is: so far, we've proven to be a team that's good enough to beat lesser opponents, but not quite on the level of the more legitimate contenders. Defeating the ignominious Norval Turner is a "must," but it would not change that assessment. It would, however, provide us with the opportunity to prove otherwise when we face other contending teams down the road. We're supposed to win this game, and we absolutely have to in order to have a chance at accomplishing anything truly meaningful this season. Pre-season expectations were high, and rightly so, but we have failed to live up to that promise thus far. Winning this game would matter in the standings, but it wouldn't really change our standing. I would enjoy the victory, but with an eye out to the horizon for when we will once again be called upon to live up to what we are supposed to be now: legitimate contenders. Crumpling paper tigers is always fun, but roaring like a true one is what I'm looking forward to! Go Broncos!