It has not been long since the Denver Broncos were one of the best teams in the NFL. But since winning Super Bowl 50, the team has been down on its luck—primarily because of poor quarterback play. How the 2021 season will turn out depends on whether they can find one this year.
Drew Lock failed to make much progress in 2020, so there is not much confidence that he is the one. Based on last season’s 2020 PFF grades, Teddy Bridgewater would be an improvement, just not a significant one.
Then there are the Aaron Rodgers rumors.
The drama seems real in Green Bay between the reigning MVP and the Packers. Will the Packers bend to their star’s wishes and trade him? If so, will they trade him to one of the three teams that he supposedly prefers (San Francisco 49ers, Las Vegas Raiders, or Denver Broncos)?
Just the possibility of a trade was enough to send the Broncos odds of winning the Super Bowl plummeting from well over +7000 to a low of +1900 (currently sitting at +2500 at most sportsbooks).
With Rodgers behind center, the Broncos would deserve to be in the Super Bowl conversation. But the possibility did not do much for their odds in the AFC and AFC West, at first. But they have come tumbling down as well.
According to the NFL sports betting odds, they have a real shot at winning all three, but can they do so without completing a trade for Rodgers?
|Denver Broncos 2021-22 Odds||DraftKings||BetRivers||PointsBet|
|To Win The Division (AFC West)||+600||+600||+600|
|To Win The Conference (AFC)||+1200||+1200||+1100|
|To Win The Super Bowl||+2500||+2500||+2500|
|To Make/Miss The Playoffs||+163/-200||+163/-200||+150/-200|
Denver Broncos 2021 Season Preview
Rodgers will make the Broncos a contender, but even he needs help if he is going to take a team to the Super Bowl (hence, his issues with the Packers). If Lock or Bridgewater end up being the starter, they will need the help of a good supporting cast—and there is a good chance they will get it.
Expectations are high for Denver’s top two receivers, Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy. Sutton is coming off a serious injury but was considered one of the better receivers in the league in 2019. As for Jeudy, until he gets to play with a good quarterback, we will not know how good he can be in the NFL.
Tight end Noah Fant made a considerable jump from his rookie season last year, going from a PFF grade of 52.0 to 71.2. He also graded out as the No. 4 receiving tight end in the league with a grade of 80.3.
But the running back room has gone from good to borderline impressive. Melvin Gordon is a much better receiver out of the backfield than he was last season for the Broncos. Between him and rookie Javonte Williams, the Denver run game appears to be in good shape.
The only problem may be the offensive line. Left tackle Garrett Bolles is one of the best in the business at left tackle, but the rest of the line is lackluster at best. Right tackle Bobby Massie is not bad, but the interior of the line needs some work.
On the defensive side of the ball, the stats make it look like the unit needs a lot of work. But if the offense could stay on the field a little more, the defense would have been better. The front seven is not in bad shape and will be better in 2021 with a healthy Von Miller coming back.
In the secondary, they have two of the better safeties in the league. Between Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby, and their first-round draft pick, Patrick Surtain II, the secondary will be tough to throw on this year.
Overall, the Broncos look like a better team this season than last, no matter who starts at quarterback. Of course, with Rodgers, they are a better team. But with Bridgewater or a vastly improved Lock behind center, the Broncos might surprise a few people this year.
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) June 1, 2021
Betting Preview And Prediction
Being in the same division as the Kansas City Chiefs almost makes it a lock that they do not win the division. That holds true with or without Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. Without him, the Broncos are not an advisable bet to win the division, the AFC, or the Super Bowl.
With their odds being so low thanks to the Rodgers speculation, there is no value in betting on them. But can they make the playoffs?
Without Rodgers, probably not. Ten wins were not enough to get in last year, and it would not be shocking if that were the case this season as well. For the Broncos, that would mean picking up five or six additional wins (they were 5-11 last season).
Bridgewater is good enough to help them get three or four wins, but not five or six with the roster at his disposal.
If you are convinced the Broncos will acquire Aaron Rodgers, then by all means—put some money down on Denver to make the playoffs, win the AFC, and the Super Bowl (but not much). However, if you do not see Rodgers joining the team, the only advisable bet is for the Broncos not to make the playoffs.