Posted on: September 8, 2020, 01:11h.
Last updated on: September 8, 2020, 01:56h.
For the fourth consecutive season, there will be a different Week 1 starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos. This time coaches believe Drew Lock has the potential to bring stability and production to any team’s most important position.
While Denver finished 7-9 for its third consecutive losing season, the team went 4-1 in Lock’s five starts.
The Broncos are now seen as a team on the rise in the AFC West. Thanks to the off-season addition of running back Melvin Gordon in free agency, trades involving defensive tackle Jurrell Casey and cornerback A.J. Douye, and acquiring receiver Jerry Jeudy with a first-round draft pick,
Still, the Broncos are considered a long-shot championship contender, with odds ranging from +4,000 at Westgate SuperBook and BetMGM to +6,000 at FanDuel because they’re stuck behind the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West
Over/Under: 7.5 Wins
The Broncos started 3-8 last season with Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen at quarterback, and never scored more than 24 points. The Broncos broke that barrier twice with Lock, including a season-high 38 against Houston.
Lock completed 64.1 percent of his passes, threw seven touchdowns vs. three interceptions, and posted an 89.7 passer rating. It wasn’t great, but Lock threw more touchdowns in five games than Flacco in eight.
Denver is fairly popular, but that would have a lot to do with opening our online sportsbook in Colorado and a passionate Broncos fan base,” an analyst at FanDuel told Casino.org.
That said, there seems to be public optimism surrounding Lock, given the Jeudy and Gordon acquisitions and the way he performed last year,” the analyst continued. “There is always an expectation for quarterbacks to make a leap in Year 2.”
The consensus over/under win total is 7.5. At FanDuel, the bet is -110 on both sides of the ledger. That might not sound impressive, but Denver is a combined 18-30 the past three seasons and hasn’t reached the playoffs since winning the Super Bowl in 2015.
John Elway got Lock some much-needed help on offense. In five seasons with the Chargers, Gordon rushed for 4,240 yards, caught 224 passes, and scored 47 total touchdowns. With Phillip Lindsay, they have a potentially strong backfield duo.
Then, Denver drafted Jeudy in the first round and tight end Albert Okwuegbunam in the fourth round. Courtland Sutton and Jeudy at receiver and Noah Fant and Okwuegbunam at tight end provide some big-play possibilities in the passing game.
With that, Lock is +5,500 to win MVP at FanDuel, but +8,000 at DraftKings. Jeudy is fifth on BetMGM’s Rookie of the Year board at +1,400.
This will be Vic Fangio’s second season as coach. He’s a defense-minded coach with some horsepower on that side of the ball. Von Miller and Bradley Chubb provide one of the best one-two punches as pass rushers.
Miller had eight sacks last season, breaking a streak of five consecutive years with at least 10. Chubb had a dozen sacks as a rookie in 2018 but only one in four games last year after suffering a torn ACL. Defensive tackle Casey has been picked for five consecutive Pro Bowls. Justin Simmons had four interceptions and is one of the best safeties in the business.
At PointsBet, Fangio is +2,400 to win Coach of the Year and Miller is +1,800 to win Defensive Player of the Year.
Editor’s Note: This is the 27th of 32 NFL team previews and the third of four on the AFC West.