The Denver Broncos want to win the Super Bowl. They have talked openly about the Super Bowl since minicamps started in May. This team knows what they are capable of if they play up to their potential.
Unlike last season, the Broncos have had to overcome plenty of obstacles this season.
Last year they won 11 games in a row heading into the playoffs, winning all games by seven or more points. This year the Broncos lost to a divisional foe, the San Diego Chargers, in Week 15.
In 2012 the Broncos stayed relatively healthy during the season, losing players like Willis McGahee to injury. This season, the Broncos have had to play without All-Pro left tackle Ryan Clady since a Week 2 injury.
Now, the team has lost linebacker Von Miller for the rest of the year to a knee injury.
In addition, the team lost Champ Bailey in the preseason to a foot injury that has kept him out of most of the regular season. They also lost Derek Wolfe to a mysterious illness about a month ago that he has yet to come back from.
Superstar wide receiver Wes Welker is also going to miss a handful of games in the final month of the season due to his second concussion of the year.
It’s clear the Broncos have had a much tougher road in 2013. Despite the rocky path, the team has a chance to finish the regular season as the top team in the AFC. If they beat the Raiders in Week 17, the Broncos will enter the postseason with home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
With their roster depth challenged, certain players become even more valuable. These injuries have also opened doors for reserve players to be cornerstones for what the team has built in 2013.
Let’s take a look at which Broncos players are the most important for a playoff run.
All quotes and injury/practice observations were obtained firsthand. Record/Statistical information provided via email from the Denver Broncos.