With the release of the Denver Broncos 2020 schedule, it is tempting to go through and start throwing out predictions. Obviously, we can’t all be Frank Caliendo impersonating John Gruden, “win, win, win, bye, win...”
Then again, the best part about that joke was that the Raiders having a winning season is a joke, but I digress.
On the MHR Radio Podcast, Ian St. Clair and I took a look at the schedule, and discussed some of the big games, standout matchups, and biggest hurdles in the 2020 season. A theme started to present itself. It became clear that the Broncos are filled with potential, but will need to do one thing, learn how to win.
As we discussed the schedule, Ian brought up a very important point. Denver lost several close games in 2019. Close games turned into heartbreaking losses too many times. Even the win over the Texans turned into a nail biter at the end.
Learning how to win will be an important step as Denver climbs back up the mountain. While I am not going to call losing a disease, I will point out that losing, like winning, becomes a habit. When teams begin to lose a lot, it becomes expected. It can turn a franchise into perennial losers (I’m looking at you Raider Nation, Cleveland, Cincinnati, etc.).
It has been 4 full seasons since the Broncos won a Super Bowl. Losing seasons have piled up. It isn’t that losing has become accepted, or expected, but if this continues, who knows. That is what makes 2020 so important in Broncos Country. A return to glory has to start with some simple goals.
One goal, a goal Ian says is paramount to a playoff run, is beating the Chiefs. Week 2 of 2015 was the last time Denver was able to claim victory. Now, Kansas City sits on top of the NFL mountain. Getting a win against Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes, just one win, will go a long way to indicating that Vic Fangio and Drew Lock are ready to compete with the best of the best.
I have called 2020 a gap year for Denver. The Broncos are a potential playoff team, but Drew Lock’s first full year as a starter will probably come with a few hiccups. However, if the upcoming season can draw on the successes in the final 5 games in 2019, there can be growth. That growth can translate into some big wins that lead to a big run in 2021.
We are a long way from football at this point, but when the Broncos finally take the field, the climb will begin. The mountain in front of the team is difficult, but not insurmountable. It all starts with relearning how to win. How to put teams away.
If Denver can do that, the sky’s the limit.