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Broncos are a sucker’s bet

The Denver Broncos are 10-2 and coming off a third consecutive win, this time beating the hapless San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium by a 17-3 count. It marks the third victory in as many tries for quarterback Brock Osweiler, who has taken over for the injured/benched Peyton Manning.

In Osweiler’s starts, Denver has beaten the Chicago Bears, New England Patriots and the aforementioned Chargers. The first and last teams are no good, and the middle is an excellent one that was dealing with a litany of injuries.

The reality is this: Denver has a great defense, little offense, and no hope of winning the Super Bowl.

The Broncos are going to be a tough out for any team in the AFC, home or away. The pass rush is very solid under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who has schemed the Broncos to more sacks than any other team in the National Football League. Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware are the headliners, but men like Shaq Barrett are integral to the defense’s success.

The bigger problem is the offense, which despite a trio of wins has been less than inspiring under Osweiler. The Broncos scored 17 points against Chicago, one of the worst defenses in the league. Versus New England, Denver was trailing by 14 points in the fourth quarter and largely ineffective throughout the contest, before recovering a muffed punt.

In San Diego, the Broncos scored 17 points again, this time with a pick-six included. In summation, Denver’s offense put up 10 points against a defense that has recently allowed 26 points to the Jacksonville Jaguars and 33 points to the Kansas City Chiefs.

On Sunday, the Chargers held Osweiler to 166 passing yards on 16-of-26 attempts with a touchdown and an interception. The rushing attack brought another 134 yards on 39 carries, resulting in a paltry 3.4 yards per carry. If San Diego can hold Denver to that type of offensive output, is there any reason to believe the Broncos are a major threat to teams in the upper echelon of the conference on a consistent basis?

The Broncos currently feel like the group that went 6-0 to start the 2009 season under former head coach Josh McDaniels. Ultimately, that team finished 8-8 and missed the postseason, mostly because the luck ran out. Denver’s 2015 team has more talent than the 2009 team, but it’s not an elite squad.

Denver will win the AFC West, but it is not even the best team in the division. The Kansas City Chiefs are superior at this point, perhaps on both sides of the ball. The Chiefs hammered Denver in the Mile High City a month ago, and should have won their Week 2 matchup. If the two sides meet in the playoffs, Kansas City might even be favored on the road.

The Broncos are a decent team, but don’t buy the hype.

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