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Denver Broncos: Broncos Face Most Pressure of Any Team in the League to Succeed

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 12:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos calls signals out in the shotgun formation behind the line of scrimmage against the Baltimore Ravens during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 12, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. The Ravens won 38-35 in 2 overtimes.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
DJ SiddiqiCorrespondent IIIApril 4, 2013

Peyton Manning is 37 years old, the Ravens have regressed this offseason, the Patriots lost their top two wide receivers and the Steelers cut several of their aging veterans, including James Harrison.

What doesn't indicate that 2013 should be the Broncos' year?

What in that sentence doesn't indicate the Broncos should finally break through?

2012 is over. The Baltimore Ravens—the team that would go on to win the Super Bowl after defeating the Broncos in the Divisional Playoffs—went through a hectic offseason which saw them lose Ray Lewis, Paul Kruger, Ed Reed, Dannell Ellerbe and Bernard Pollard amongst others to either retirement or free agency.

They made headlines this offseason mainly for giving Joe Flacco the richest contract in NFL history.

The Broncos signed ex-Patriots receiver Wes Welker—the best slot receiver in the game—while the Patriots signed injury-prone Danny Amendola to replace Welker in the slot.

The Steelers made an effort to remain competitive by cutting a few of their older veterans.

The Texans remain an elite team, and along with the Patriots, represent Denver's biggest challenge in a weak AFC conference.

To further demonstrate just how big of a year 2013 will be for the Broncos, Vegas immediately placed the Broncos as the betting favorite to win the Super Bowl next year right after the Ravens defeated the Niners in Super Bowl XLVII.

There will never be a better time than now for the Broncos to achieve their true goal, which is winning a Super Bowl.

Combine that with the "regressions" that their AFC competition made this offseason and the fact that Manning isn't getting any younger, and the time is now or never for Denver to win.

Over the past couple of seasons, the Broncos have played in tough games, won division titles, won playoff games and even finished with the league's best record.

Denver—in what can be interpreted as a win-now approach—signed four major free agents to contracts that last two years or less: WR Wes Welker, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, LB Stewart Bradley and DT Terrance Knighton.

Denver now possesses the best receiving corps in the NFL—three receivers who are coming off of 1,000-yard receiving seasons in 2012.

The team didn't have a perfect offseason, as DE Elvis Dumervil ended up signing with the Ravens after one of the more bizarre stories of the offseason saw Dumervil cut due to a fax issue.

However, the point is this, and it's quite simple—the AFC was a weak conference that further regressed.

The Ravens, the Super Bowl champions of 2012, completely regressed whether they would like to admit it or not.

The Steelers are an aging team that are making efforts to get younger while trying to remain competitive. They will be in a dogfight to win the AFC North with the Ravens, and potentially the Bengals.

The Patriots should remain an elite team in the AFC, as they always have been, but they have had the past eight years to break through, and consistently fall short of their ultimate goal.

The Texans are in the same boat as the Patriots, but despite the fact that the Texans and the Broncos both possess balanced attacks (both teams finished in the top 10 in offense and defense in 2012), does anybody doubt that the Broncos possess more firepower than Houston? Especially with the signing of Welker?

The Broncos had their season end in one of the most heartbreaking ways, in a game that they had control of. If there is any time to show what you are made of when it pertains to resiliency, the time is now.

The time for the Broncos to win is now.

Because of that, Denver faces more pressure than anybody in the league to win entering 2013.

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