2008 RECORD: 8-8 (3-3 in the Division)
SEASON SERIES: Call it a tale of two games. In the season opener, Jay Cutler picked apart the Raiders for 300 yard and two touchdowns in a 41-14 rout. The Raiders returned the favor in Week 12, winning 31-10 at Mile High Stadium by piling up nearly 150 yards on the ground.
KEY NEW FACES:
The Broncos will see changes at two of the teams key positions—and one of them is off the field.
Denver brings in former Patriot offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as its new head coach to replace the departed Mike Shannahan.
Despite losing Tom Brady for the season, the New England's attack was still potent under McDaniels, finishing in the top-10 in scoring and yards-per-game.
However, all eyes in Denver will be on the team's new signal caller. Former Bucaneer Chris Simms will battle Kyle Orton for the starting quarterback job after the team shipped Jay Cutler to Chicago.
Whoever wins will have the pressure of leading an offense that averaged nearly 400 yard per game in 2008. Cutler, a fan favorite, passed for over 4,500 yards and 25 touchdowns last season.
Even without Cutler, the Broncos' offense should still be formidable, as Denver boasts many passing options for either of the two signal callers.
Brandon Marshall posted over 1,200 receiving yards last season, while rookie Eddie Royal broke out for 980 and five touchdowns.
Tony Schefler and Daniel Graham, who combined for over 1,000 yards receiving and seven touchdowns, should provide solid targets at tight end.
And even without a clear-cut starter in the backfield, the Broncos' running-back-by-committee produced the leagues 12th ranked ground attack.
With Selvin Young cut, incoming rookie Knowshon Moreno should provide an instant impact at the position.
WEAKNESSES: The Defense.
The numbers speak for themselves. Denver struggled against both the air (26th in passing yards allowed) and rushing attacks (27th).
By drafting defensive end Robert Ayers and bringing in Eagles safety Brian Dawkins, the Broncos hope to add some toughness and tackling ability to a unit that allowed 28 points per game.
Last year, the Broncos' 7-5 start was by virtue of a weak schedule. A key stretch against Dallas, New England, San Diego, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh will provide a much clearer picture of this team.