Season Preview: Denver Broncos

Sports Mole takes a look at Denver Broncos ahead of the start of the 2013 season.

The Denver Broncos head into the 2013 NFL season with an unbeaten streak of 11 regular season games behind them and will be one of the favourites for the Super Bowl.

As ever, the Broncos will be there or thereabouts at the top of the passing charts, with Peyton Manning now at the top of the table in terms of 300-yard passing games. He has 72 overall in his career, five ahead of Drew Brees.

Last year their defense was also very impressive, which was key to their 11-game streak. The star on D, Von Miller, will miss the start of the season through suspension, but without too tough a start the Broncos could already be firing upon his return.

Head Coach: John Fox

Last season: 13-3

Review: Last season did not start at all well for the Broncos. They were 2-3 down after five as well as being 24-0 down to the San Diego Chargers. However, ahead of their rest week, Manning fired his team to victory on the night to kick-start a fine run of form.

The start was troubling, but the response was more than impressive. By the end of the regular season, they had stormed into the playoffs as a top seed, destroying the likes of the Carolina Panthers and even eventual Super Bowl champions Baltimore Ravens on the way to winning the AFC West.

Despite having two Pro Bowl starters - Manning and Champ Bailey - and a third, Miller, who did not start due to his suspension, the streak came to an end at the hands of the Ravens. In a thrilling divisional playoff game, the Ravens pipped the Broncos 38-35 after two periods of overtime to fall short of expectations after a topsy-turvy season.

Notable Ins

Shaun Phillips: The Broncos lost Elvis Dumervil to the Ravens, with Phillips coming in as a direct replacement from San Diego Chargers. On paper, he does not have the same quality but will have the chance to prove himself at a higher level.

Wes Welker: Considering how strong the Broncos' passing game was already, the last thing other teams wanted to see was them signing a quality wide receiver. However, this is exactly what they have done by bringing in Welker, who will be an upgraded version of Brandon Stokley. The options that Manning now has to pass to are quite remarkable.

Notable Outs

Elvis Dumervil: Dumervil ended up signing for the Ravens after an embarrassing mix-up over the player's paperwork. His loss could be huge - the linebacker started all 16 regular season games, managing 11 sacks in the process, statistics that will now be helping the Super Bowl champions.

Willis McGahee: As good as the passing offense is looking, there are some problems with the running game. The release of Willis McGahee leaves a shortage of depth at running back which will have to be filled by rookies or unproven players.

Key Player Offense: Peyton Manning

Key Player Defense: Von Miller

Rookie to watch: Montee Ball

Pre-season form: 2-2

Prediction: 12-4. It is tough to predict another 11-game winning streak for the Broncos, but the sheer quality in their passing offense should see them blow many teams away. A spot in the playoffs should be the minimum expectation this season, with the final four a realistic target. The key will be whether the D can remain strong; if so, the Broncos will be a match for anyone.

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Denver Broncos' Montee Ball during a training session on May 10, 2013
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