Photo: Illustration using Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Conventional wisdom says the Denver Broncos, a playoff team in 2011, will be significantly better with Peyton Manning as the quarterback next season.How much better though, is open for debate. An easy way to preview Manning’s success with Denver is to look at the team’s 2012 schedule.
It’s by no means easy, with seven games against playoff teams from a year ago, but there is one aspect about the Broncos schedule that should have Peyton licking his chops.
Denver plays 10 games against terrible pass defenses.
Two apiece against divisional rivals the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers, as well as once against the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, and New England Patriots.
None of those eight teams ranked any better than 13th in the NFL in total pass defence in 2011, with New England (31st) and New Orleans (30th) being the worst of the bunch.
Likewise, seven of those eight teams were middle of the road to awful in terms of applying pressure to the quarterback and getting sacks.
That’s music to the ears of a recently injured Peyton, his new teammates, and the entire Broncos organisation.
If the Broncos were able to win a playoff game with Tim Tebow last year, there’s no telling how well they’ll do in 2012 with Manning under centre.
And before all you haters come out and say Denver’s receiving corps are not any good, keep in mind that Manning made serviceable receivers out of low-level prospects like Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon.
Barring further injury woes, Peyton will feast on opposing defenses next season.
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