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2013 Denver Broncos
On March 20, 2012, John Elway introduced Peyton Manning as the newest member of the Denver Broncos after he had signed a five-year contract worth $96 million. Adding Manning instantly put thoughts of a Super Bowl into the minds of Denver fans. The Broncos got off to a relatively slow start last season, going 3-3 straight-up and against the spread in their first six games. However, a Week 6 showdown on the road against the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football got their entire season turned around. The Broncos were down 24-0 to their AFC West division rivals at halftime, then scored 35 unanswered points in the second half to beat San Diego 35-24 in miraculous fashion. Denver finished the regular season on a 10-game winning streak, taking care of football bettors who backed them with a 7-3 ATS mark as well. The Broncos headed into the playoffs with a 13-3 record overall, an AFC West title and the top seed in the AFC. But their storybook season came to a crashing halt after the postseason bye, as the Baltimore Ravens came into Denver and stunned the Broncos in a 38-35 double overtime thriller.
Despite the disappointing finish, Manning lived up to nearly all the hype and then some as he had a spectacular season, passing for 4,659 yards to go along with 37 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions. Young wide receiver Demaryius Thomas had a monster season with 94 catches for 1,434 yards and 10 touchdowns. Thomas was not the only Broncos receiver that went over 1,000 yards receiving on the year as Eric Decker also snagged 85 balls for 1,064 yards and 13 touchdowns. Besides having a high-octane offense, the Broncos had a Top 5 defense last season as well. The heart and soul of their defense was second year linebacker Von Miller, who recorded 18.5 sacks, 55 tackles, and six forced fumbles as he continued to establish himself as one of the best defensive players in the NFL.
Denver is coming off a busy offseason. First, the Broncos lost offensive coordinator Mike McCoy as he was hired as the new head coach of the Chargers. Adam Gase will now call the plays this year in Denver as he was promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator. The Broncos also made some big signings this offseason that will make their team even deeper and more dangerous. They signed Pro Bowl WR Wes Welker, giving them arguably the best receiving corps in the NFL combined with Thomas and Decker. Defensively, they added Quentin Jammer, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and former Chargers Shaun Phillips and Louis Vasquez. The team's one huge loss was failing to re-sign Pro Bowl defensive end Elvis Dumervil, who signed with the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Another big change this season will come at running back after Denver cut veteran Willis McGahee, whose shoes are expected to be filled by first-round draft pick Montee Ball from Wisconsin and second-year player Ronnie Hillman, a former third-round pick.
The oddsmakers at 5Dimes have Denver's O/U set at 11.5 wins for this upcoming season. While this is a high number, it would not be surprising to see the Broncos equal or surpass last year's mark and possibly complete their goal this year and win Super Bowl XLIV.
Recommended Play: OVER 11.5
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