Pretty Much Screwed: The 2013-14 Denver Broncos

  • Jake O'Donnell

Peyton Manning Neck Injury

Welcome to “Pretty Much Screwed,” our definitive guide to the upcoming NFL season. This team-by-team preview details why your favorite franchise might have to start looking forward to next year — but highlights at least one reason for you to be hopeful. Today we’re taking a look at the Denver Broncos, who’re on that Wu right now.

All that matters is that you have the next nineteen games to get this right. That’s it. Nineteen games where you try to keep Peyton Manning healthy.

Wu-Tang might as well be you’re offensive coordinator, because the game plan for nineteen games will be to “Protect Ya Neck.”

Well, his neck, but you get the point. One missed blocking assignment and this party is over.

The San Francisco 49ers you are not. They’re badasses. They ain’t nothing to fuck with. Get to know them — that model for rebuilding worked. You’ll be there soon enough, so take excellent notes.

For starters, this franchise is all in right now — which doesn’t exactly bode well for the future. Like, all the way in. Not just the tip. The WHOLE THING. If they don’t win this year, they’ll have a 38-year-old quarterback with a few fused vertebrae, bulging discs, pinched nerves, giant forehead disease, and still no idea how to win when it counts. So they better win this year, or else they’re beyond screwed.

NEWSFLASH: The Denver Broncos aren’t winning the Super Bowl this year. Hence, screwed. Have fun rebuilding.

It begins and ends with Peyton Manning. Why is his fallibility such a difficult concept to grasp? Some athletes are excellent during the regular season because they work harder while everybody else is cruising, partying, and not watching film. These guys never take a game off. Peyton Manning is one of those guys. He has NEVER taken a game off. But when the playoffs roll around, the playing field gets leveled because NO ONE takes those games off. What are you’re left with?

A guy with a noodle arm who thinks he’s way smarter than the competition.

Everybody dropped this notion of Peyton after he beat the Bears in Super Bowl “Who the fuck remembers that Super Bowl because it sucked.” He didn’t even play well, yet we all lifted that monkey off his back as if it wasn’t his vestigial conjoined primate twin. As far as I’m concerned, the jury is still out on his ability to translate regular season success to post season success. Look no further than this play.

Rolls out and throws across his body into traffic. I’m sorry, but he knows better than that. That was an “Oh shit” scramble play executed by a guy who hates “Oh shit” scramble plays. He likes control. And in crunch time, sometimes you’ve gotta get ugly — and he’s not nearly as comfortable doing that as his younger brother is. Who’s to say this season won’t end the same way?

You can talk all you want about your defensive heart and soul, Von Miller, and his ambiguous drug usage (out the first six games), or the fact that you lost Elvis Dumervil because the front office is run by 12-year-old interns who don’t understand how to use a fax machine (neither do I), or you could even talk about how Montee Ball can’t pass block and will ultimately be part of a platoon, along with some pretty unexciting running back options. These all suggest your franchise is royally screwed going forward. For Christ’s sake, weed is legal in CO — how exactly are you gonna keep your players from constantly testing positive for smoking it? Have the same moron fax their drug test results to the league office? Seriously though…

Your running game will be based on protection — not actual running — which means come January, you’ll be back where you were last year, watching Peyton throw one into the teeth of the defense. Then he’ll have some career ending offseason surgery and you’ll end up with a terrible draft pick and Brock Osweiler behind center. That’ll be a cool jersey. Osweiler.

Why you might not be screwed: Home games include Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Washington, Kansas City, Tennessee and San Diego. And the 49ers have an awful lot of pressure going into the season, so they’re definitely beatable in a (heavily favored) Super Bowl matchup. Good luck.

Actual prediction: 15-1. Lose in the first round because life’s a bitch.