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Football Outsiders projects Denver Broncos as second worst team in AFC in 2017

You read that right. Football Outsiders expects major regressions from the Denver Broncos in 2017.

New England Patriots v Denver Broncos Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

How the mighty have fallen.

The era of Peyton Manning is no more and it didn’t take long for Football Outsiders to bring the Denver Broncos behemoth down. According to their DVOA projections, the Broncos will be the 15th best team in the AFC in 2017. One spot ahead of the woeful Cleveland Browns.

AFC West

1. Oakland Raiders: 9-7 (9.0 mean wins; SOS: 15)

2. Kansas City Chiefs: 8-8 (8.1 mean wins; SOS: 4)

3. Los Angeles Chargers: 8-8 (7.9 mean wins; SOS: 14)

4. Denver Broncos: 6-10 (6.0 mean wins; SOS: 6)

Our Denver projection might be a surprise, but a full turnover of the coaching staff often presages a drop for winning teams. The Broncos already defied historical NFL trends by putting up a second straight season of otherworldly pass defense, and the odds they can do it three straight seasons are even longer. Then again, I wouldn't want to bet against them, in part because it might make Chris Harris Jr. angry on Twitter.

I suppose that is the true value of a franchise quarterback. And before you start throwing insults FO’s way or claiming their system of evaluation is garbage, they happen to get their projects right more often than not. At least when it comes to the Broncos.

2013: DVOA pegged Denver as second best in AFC behind the New England Patriots. They ended up with the number one seed just ahead of those Patriots.

2014: DVOA pegged Denver as the best overall team in the AFC, just ahead of the Patriots. The prediction was spot on, until the Indianapolis Colts ruined their post-season run.

2015: DVOA pegged Denver as the second best team in the AFC behind those pesky Patriots. As we all know, the Broncos defense was otherworldly that year and a Super Bowl 50 championship was its reward.

2016: DVOA, with the departure of Peyton Manning, dropped the Broncos to 12th overall and 8th in the AFC. They finished 7th in the AFC and just outside of the playoffs.

In short, we should take these DVOA rankings quite seriously. It’s early and these projections can change before the final version is released in early September, but it is definitely disconcerting to see third-party unbiased observers tanking hard on a team just one season removed from a world championship.


Are Football Outsiders’ concerns about the Denver Broncos warranted?

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