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5 Not-So-Obvious Bold Predictions For the Broncos' Offense in 2023

We're diving deeper with our bold predictions for the 2023 Denver Broncos offense.

The NFL regular season is rapidly approaching. Examining the Denver Broncos offense, there's a lot of reason for hope but also plenty of concerns. 

The goal this year is for the Broncos to get back on track. These five not-so-obvious bold predictions for the offense would definitely do that. 

2,700 Team Rushing Yards

Studying the Broncos' offense, and paying attention to what the team brass has done and said, this will be a run-heavy attack. The focus on offense will be running the ball and using the passing game to complement the run game, much to what the Seattle Seahawks did for years with Russell Wilson. 

For the 2022 season, three teams broke 2,700 yards rushing, and two had over 900 yards rushing by their respective quarterbacks. Those two teams were the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens, with the Atlanta Falcons being right behind them. 

Making this even bolder is the Broncos achieving this mark with fewer than 500 yards rushing from the quarterback. Denver will get the vast majority of its rushing yards from the running backs, which is a similar path to that the Falcons took in 2022. 

Breaking 2,700 yards rushing as a team isn't easy, and looking back over the past five seasons, only six teams have achieved that, with three of them coming in 2022, as mentioned. The Philadelphia Eagles broke it in 2021, and the Ravens did again in 2020 and 2019. 

I'm predicting 2,700 yards on the ground for Denver, despite Sean Payton offenses having only been ranked in the top 5 in rushing yards once and five times in the top 10. This would require an average of nearly 160 yards rushing per game. 

1,150-Plus Plays Ran on Offense

With an extra game in the season, more teams are breaking the 1,100-play mark. Before 2021, 2018-2020, only four teams broke 1,100 plays between the three seasons. Since the NFL added an extra game, 10 teams in 2021 and 2022 broke that mark. In 2021 the Broncos were 27th, but they jumped to 14th in 2022. 

With the extra game, 1,150 plays becomes the uncommon mark, and I'm predicting the Broncos break it as they focus on being a run-heavy team, which will lead to long drives, both in time of possession and total plays run. The Broncos want to keep the ball from their opponent's quarterback and eat the clock. 

Over the past two seasons, only two teams in each season broke that mark. This bold prediction goes with the first one, and the number of plays helps the Broncos reach that 2,700 rushing yards milestone.

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Fewer Than 35 Sacks Allowed

This is probably the boldest prediction of the group when you look at the fact the Broncos allowed 63 sacks (55 on Russell Wilson) in 2022. Plus, Wilson has only been sacked fewer than 35 times twice in his career. 

However, allowing fewer than 35 sacks is common around the NFL. Only eight teams hit that mark in 2022, 13 in 2021, 16 in 2020, 11 in 2019, and 2018. So it isn't nearly as uncommon as the previous two bold predictions. 

What makes this bold is the Broncos' history and Wilson's. Plus, the perception within Broncos Country is that the O-line sucks. It seems like a tough ask to go from allowing the most sacks in the NFL to being in the bottom half in 2023. 

One of the two seasons that Wilson was sacked 35 times was in 2021, when he missed three games with an injury. He was sacked 33 times in 14 games, which put him well on the track for at least 40 sacks had he played a full season. The Seahawks allowed 46 total sacks that season. 

The other was his 2012 rookie season, where the Seahawks ran the ball 536 times, compared to Wilson throwing it 393 times. That's a similar pass/run ratio expected of the Broncos this season. 

Look for the Broncos to run the ball on 58-60% of their plays while passing 40-42% of the time. The run game will be the focus, and passing the ball fewer times, along with more moving pockets and improvements on the O-line, will lead to a significant improvement in sacks allowed. 

Fewer Than 20 Turnovers

In 2021, the Broncos hit this mark, turning the ball over 18 times on offense. That increased to 24 in 2022, so this bold prediction is hardly implausible. Cutting down on nine fumbles and 15 interceptions from last season shouldn't be that difficult on Payton's watch. 

Denver's biggest perpetrator in fumbles is no longer with the team. Letting go of Melvin Gordon, who fumbled five times, would've been enough to get below 20 turnovers in 2022. This is the least-bold prediction on this list. 

Scoring on 40% of Drives

Scoring. Broncos fans may have forgotten what it feels like to score points at a respectable rate after watching the team score on just 28.6% of its drives in 2022. The Broncos scored on 36.9% of their drives in 2021, which was the only year they were higher than 33% since 2018. 

Let's say the Broncos have 170 drives in 2023. That would put them between the Falcons' 165 drives and the Bears' 174 drives, with the Ravens at 171. 

I'm using those two teams as a benchmark because they were the three teams to break 2,700 yards rushing in 2022. With the Broncos being a run-heavy, time-of-possession team, they will have fewer drives. 

So succeeding on 40% of those drives would mean 68 scores this season. I'm splitting that number with 34 touchdowns and 34 field goals. 

In 2022, the Broncos scored 29 touchdowns while making 28 (on 36 attempts). This offense should be better, so an even split is the best and most fair way to do it. 

Those 34 touchdowns, with extra points and 34 field goals, would count for 340 points scored. The Broncos had 287 last year, the worst in the NFL. 

While 340 isn't great (it would have been the 21st-most in 2022), it would be a significant improvement over 2022's numbers. That's the first step of turning it around, and it's based on an even split of touchdowns and field goals and not including any direct defense of special teams scores. 

A team scoring on 40% of its drives is seriously more than what the Broncos have done over recent years. Only nine teams scored on 40% or more drives in 2022. 

Going from less than 30% to at least 40% would be a significant improvement for the Broncos. 


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