Most decently plugged-in Broncos fans will agree that Denver’s 2021 squad is likely the deepest and most talented roster the team has fielded since winning Super Bowl 50.
The secondary, ravaged by injury last season, has been transformed into potentially the most dominant defensive back-end in the league. The front 7 is poised to, finally, sport both Von Miller and Bradley Chubb on the edges with rising young talents joining Shelby Harris between them. With a receiving group among the league’s most talented and 2 legitimate starter-quality running backs offering Teddy Bridgewater plenty of options on offense. The team that first year GM George Paton referred to as a sleeping giant appears, at least to its fans, poised to finally start the climb back up into playoff contention.
But what do outsiders think?
I took a bit of time to collect score & game predictions from around the NFL media sphere, to get a feel for what the general consensus is on the Denver Broncos’ matchup with the New York Giants in Week 1. Let’s see if the rest of the NFL is as confident in these Broncos as many of us are.
“Unfairly, this game could end up being rather left out of the limelight alongside the other three on this slate. The Broncos named Teddy Bridgewater as the starter, and he is the ideal QB for this talented roster. The Giants made some big moves in the offseason, but I’m not sure it leads to anything in Week 1.”
Pick: Broncos 20, Giants 17
“This is a long trip for the Broncos to open the season, but defense travels well and the Broncos will have a top defense. The difference in this game will be the Denver front against the Giants offensive line. They will make it a tough day for Daniel Jones . Teddy Bridgewater will do enough to win it.”
Pick: Broncos 21, Giants 14
Pick: “Broncos 23-16 over Giants”
“Denver last reached the playoffs in 2015 when it won Super Bowl 50. The Broncos have had some defensive success since their offense has sputtered, finishing no better than 22nd in points per game over the past five seasons. Denver’s hoping the addition of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater can right the ship and get the organization back to the postseason. Oddsmakers don’t seem to think that’s in the plans just yet, projecting 8.5 wins for Denver while giving it 7-1 odds to win the AFC West. However, the Broncos are favored by 2.5 points on the road against the Giants in Week 1.
The Giants rebounded from a 1-7 start to nearly winning the NFC East in Week 17 last season. But it came up empty-handed as their playoff drought reached four years. Oddsmakers project seven wins in 2021, which would put New York at third in its division. This feels like something of a make-or-break season for quarterback Daniel Jones, who is just 8-18 as a starter in two years. The Giants’ defense took a huge step forward under Joe Judge, improving from 30th in points allowed to ninth. The offense ranked 31st in points per game and lost five games by a single possession. Unless New York figured out its offense in the offseason, a point total of 42.5 is very inviting for a team that hit the under 13 times last year.”
Pick: 5 analysts picking the Broncos to win, vs 3 analysts picking the Giants to win.
Jarrett Bell: 23-20 Giants
Nate Davis: 23-16 Broncos
Jori Epstein: 20-17 Giants
Mike Freeman: 17-10 Broncos
Mike Jones: 21-19 Broncos
Mike Middlehurst-Schwartz: 23-14 Broncos
Lorenzo Reyes: 20-17 Giants
TK’s Take: It’s interesting that the consensus here seems to be that the Giants will have to pull out a close win, with a 3 point edge from everyone giving them the W, while 3 out of 4 analysts picking the Broncos have Denver winning by at least a touchdown.
Pick: 4 analysts picking the Broncos to win, vs 3 analysts picking the Giants to win.
The Giants’ assessment of Daniel Jones as the franchise’s future gets real insight as he faces a Broncos defense rife with talent. Linebacker Von Miller returns from an ankle injury that sidelined him last season, and his presence could disrupt Jones from finding new teammates like receiver Kenny Golladay and tight end Kyle Rudolph. Those additions, along with the Pro Bowl running back Saquon Barkley’s returning to the lineup, should help the third-year starting quarterback as the season progresses. But against the Broncos’ defense, which should be on the field less because of the risk-averse play of Teddy Bridgewater, it may not be enough.
Pick: Broncos -3
“Our panel has not enjoyed road favorites laying about a field goal this week, and that’s the case again with the new-look Denver Broncos favored by exactly three points over the new-look New York Giants on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
“A choice in the Giants’ favor comes down to two factors,” Sobleski said. “First, the team should be fully stocked offensively with Saquon Barkley, Kyle Rudolph Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney in the lineup.
“Secondly, the Broncos surprisingly chose Teddy Bridgewater to start behind center. Bridgewater is a reliable and efficient option. At the same time, he’s not going to threaten the entire field and often plays it safe. As long as New York’s offense can get rolling in its first week together, the Giants will be fine, at least in this contest.”
Both teams made significant personnel changes this offseason, but the Giants didn’t shake things up at quarterback, and Daniel Jones has a higher ceiling than Bridgewater. He’s also now got more support than ever, although it’s fair for Davenport and Kenyon to wonder if that group can come together quickly enough following an injury-marred summer.
We’re likely looking at another close call here. “
Gagnon: New York
O’Donnell: New York
Sobleski: New York
Consensus: New York +3
Pick: Giants 21, Broncos 20
TK’s Take: Given that we’re looking for outsiders’ takes on the Broncos, analysis that drools over the Giants’ weapons with little to no acknowledgement of the Broncos at all, except to dismiss our QB, is not exactly impressive or productive. It made the cut for this post mostly by virtue of being the only article I found that predicted a Giants win on Sunday.
“The Giants started as the favorite in this game before everyone watched the preseason. The last few weeks could serve as a trap of sorts, with key Giants like Kenny Golladay , Saquon Barkley and Kadarius Toney getting healthier. A hobbled Bradley Chubb (ankle) could help give Daniel Jones more time to operate, and I’m convinced the G-Men will field a solid defense with creative play-caller Patrick Graham able to experiment with a good-looking secondary. As much as I like these Broncos, both teams lean conservative offensively. This game has low-scoring rock fight written all over it.”
Pick: Broncos 20, Giants 16
Pick: 4 analysts picking the Broncos vs 2 picking the Giants and 1 picking a Tie.
It’s nice to see a good majority of outside opinions echoing the oddsmakers in favoring the Broncos over the Giants this weekend. Let’s hope the team doubles down on that nice change of pace by carving out a convincing victory on Sunday.