With Teddy Bridgewater now officially the starter for the Denver Broncos, the season ahead looks completely different. Granted, Bridgewater-haters will be quick to point out that he has struggled with rough rosters in the past. Last year, the Panthers went 5-11 with Bridgewater at the helm. That said, with solid rosters, Bridgewater has shown to be an effective winner.
He helped the Minnesota Vikings to the playoffs when they had an arguably loaded roster and went 5-0 with the New Orleans Saints when he had to cover for Drew Brees. The Broncos have a solid roster, so the playoffs should (finally) be in view for Broncos fans. However, how does it actually shake up? Here's a game-by-game prediction of the Broncos' season. Will Denver make the playoffs?
Denver Broncos season predictions
Week 1 - Sept. 12: at New York Giants
Week 2 - Sept. 19: at Jacksonville Jaguars
Trevor Lawrence was shaky in the preseason and continues to learn on the job. The Broncos cruise to a 17-point win after Lawrence fails to move the ball against the defense.
Week 3 - Sept. 26: vs New York Jets
Vic Fangio schemes up a tricky defense to deal with Zach Wilson. Wilson comes out firing but ultimately fires one too many interceptions as the Broncos win by three points.
Week 4 - Oct. 3: vs Baltimore Ravens
It doesn't matter what scheme Fangio draws up, the Ravens' running game is simply too powerful. The Broncos drop their first game of the season, falling to 3-1.
Week 5 - Oct. 10: at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Broncos come out slow in Week five against a Steelers defense that is no joke. Bridgewater throws two interceptions en route to a six-point loss in a defensive battle.
Week 6 - Oct. 17: vs Las Vegas Raiders
Jon Gruden leaves this game with a frown as the Denver Broncos emerge 1-0 against the AFC West. The game is a low-scoring grind, but after a big game from Melvin Gordon, the Raiders have no answer.
Week 7 - Oct. 21: at Cleveland Browns
Baker Mayfield is out to prove that last year's playoff appearance wasn't a fluke. The Broncos suffer their worst loss of the season and questions about the playoffs start to rise after a recent 1-3 skid.
Week 8 - Oct. 31: vs Washington Football Team
The Broncos bounce back against Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Washington Football Team. Ryan Fitzpatrick has an off day and the Broncos defense echoes their domination from 2015.
Week 9 - Nov. 7: at Dallas Cowboys
Dak Prescott hasn't started the year with a clean bill of health and by Week Nine, another injury forces his backup to take his place. The Broncos defense does all of the work, getting a pick-six. The Broncos win by three touchdowns.
Week 10 - Nov. 14: vs Philadelphia Eagles
By this point in the season, the Eagles' wheels are falling off. Jalen Hurts appears to not be the solution at quarterback and the Broncos cruise to an easy win.
Week 12 - Nov. 28: vs Los Angeles Chargers
By this point, Justin Herbert has shown the NFL that Patrick Mahomes is not the only quarterback destined for greatness in the AFC West. He proves it again in a showing against the Broncos in which they lose by a score.
Week 13 - Dec. 5: at Kansas City Chiefs
Broncos fans circle this game as a loss every year, and are prepared for disappointment. The Broncos lose to the Chiefs in their stadium yet again in a game that goes down to the wire.
Week 14 - Dec. 12: vs Detroit Lions
By this point in the season, it is clear the Lions need to start over at quarterback. Jared Goff throws a critical interception that leads Denver to hold on for a win.
Week 15 - Dec. 19: vs Cincinnati Bengals
Joe Burrow is the breakout player of the year. The ACL now fully healed, the Bengals offense has torn through most of their opponents and Denver is no exception. Bridgewater fails to keep up with Burrow and the Broncos fall.
Week 16 - Dec. 26: at Las Vegas Raiders
The Broncos will be happy to avoid frigid Denver as they travel to sunny Las Vegas to gamble with the Raiders. Unfortunately for Denver, they come up short and lose, giving Jon Gruden the last laugh in the series.
Week 17 - Jan. 2: at Los Angeles Chargers
The Broncos are in the playoff hunt, but just barely. They have to win out to have any shot at the seventh playoff spot. Luckily for them, the Chargers come out expecting the Herbert-mobile to roll the rest of the year. The Broncos, desperate for a win, pull out trick plays and steal a win.
Week 18 - Jan. 9: vs Kansas City Chiefs
If the Broncos win this game, they will find themselves able to get in but need help. The Chiefs, having locked in their seed, rest their starters for the game. Denver wins a tight one.
Denver Broncos Season Prediction: 9-8
The Broncos will finish the season 9-8, their first year over .500 since 2016. They'll be in the seventh playoff spot in the afternoon but will slip out of the playoffs by the end of Week 18. A last-second team gets the win and overtakes Denver for the final playoff spot.
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The Broncos are disappointed, but fought hard and gave the fans the most entertaining season since 2015.