There has not been a feeling of optimism in Denver like the one presently being felt since John Elway was running out of the tunnel on Sundays. The addition of Peyton Manning adds instant credibility to the Broncos' playoff chances, and possibly more.
Denver will not face an easy road considering they square off with seven playoff teams from last season, highlighted by traveling to meet the defending AFC Champion New England Patriots. Add the Ravens, Saints, Falcons, Bengals, Texans and Steelers to the mix, and Manning will have his work cut out for him.
Denver need really only defend the AFC West and win their favorable games to ensure their playoff position, but much of that rests on the capable shoulders of the new No. 18 in Denver.
Here is a game-by-game prediction for the Broncos' 2012 season.