According to my calculations the Denver Broncos have a 55.2347% chance of making the playoffs this season.
That means that you, you and you can stop all the chatter about Denver having another woeful season and getting into the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. And that, in turn, means that we can avoid all the “non-intentional” puns that would go along with having a quarterback named Luck on your team.
“Luck, not skill, reason for Broncos hot start to 2012 season.”
It would never stop.
So how do I propose that the Broncos have a better chance of making the playoffs then ending up with the number one pick in the 2012 draft?
Easy. The scientific method. Or, something that kind of resembles it.
I’ll show you my work: This photo of Tim Tebow times the randomness and parity factor in the NFL, AKA the playoff turnover ratio—which states that generally “50 percent of the teams that made it to the postseason in a given year don’t make it back the next year”—minus the likeliness that the Chargers will have their usual collapse at some point in the season, multiplied by the Pythagorean Theorem, and multiplied again by the likeliness that Von Miller is going to hurt a lot of opposing quarterbacks and... blammo—55.2347%!
But seriously, this is the NFL, and teams don’t have to be bad forever. The playoff turnover ratio means that every year a new set of teams make the playoffs, and since the Broncos did not make the playoffs last year, hope floats.
And if we don’t want to rely on my fuzzy math, then we can also assume that the Broncos will need to do a series of things right this season to go from 4-12 in 2010 to playoffs or bust in 2011. Behold my list!
1. Make Tim Tebow a star
Again, I defer to this picture.
Okay, that’s settled. We can only hope that the rest are this easy. Next.
2. Make Kyle Orton a good starting quarterback...for another team.
Teams like the Cardinals, 49ers, Vikings will come to their senses and realize that Kyle Orton is the best available quarterback on the market. He’s more proven than Kevin Kolb, has the perfect amount of experience, and is the anti-Vince Young.
Plus, he’s at least four years removed from starting his handball career.
This should lead to a bidding war, in which the Broncos can pass on draft picks and opt for a stud defensive tackle to add to an already promising defense.
3. Help Brian Dawkins rebound from a poor 2010 season, and allow him to develop Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter into Brian Dawkins-clones.
What’s better than one Brian Dawkins-pre 2010? Easy! Three Brian Dawkins-pre 2010.
4. Have Tebow throw the ball to Virgil Green/Julius Thomas
If one of these two players—I don’t care which one—becomes an offensive rookie of the year candidate then we can point to it as proof that the offense has become more versatile, more dynamic, and more un-McDaniels.
However, if Tebow has more throws to Richard Quinn, then we can also point to this as an obvious lack of progress with the offense.
I mean, Tebow can throw it to Quinn, but only if the plan calls for watching Quinn fumble around a pass, drop it, and then look down in the turf with disappointment. Otherwise, throw it to Green or Thomas and see what they can do.
5. Play defense.
The Broncos chose to go away from this strategy in 2010. Perhaps their preference for non-defense and bubble screens seemed like a good idea at the time, but no, it really wasn’t.
6. Stop tearing pectoral muscles. No more hustling for rebounds in a basketball game with uncle Frank. Keep your starting running backs healthy so that the team doesn’t have to trade for Laurence Maroney again.
I don’t want my 325-pound, pro-bowl offensive lineman doing his best J.J. Barea imitation at the park in a pick-up basketball game. Is that asking too much?
The team has to stay healthy in 2011.
7. Put the past firmly behind you
The Broncos play Miami in Week 7 and Chicago in Week 14. These are not ordinary contests. They are chances for the team to purge itself of its past, while also solidifying itself as the Tim Tebow-led Broncos of a completely new, exciting era of football.
8. Put the video-recorder down!
I know that the idea of taping the least-dynamic offense in the league (San Francisco’s) was mostly a nefarious little plot hatched by Josh McDaniels, but the Broncos cannot just go back to their winning ways without first reestablishing themselves as one of the classiest organizations in the league.
With this cast of characters—Pat Bowlen, John Elway, John Fox, Tim Tebow, Von Miller, Champ Bailey, and Brian Dawins—that’s almost a given.
9. Throw the ball to Eric Decker
A lot of fans around here anticipate big things from Decker, and for good reason: He has the smarts and skills to be the next iconic Broncos receiver, in the mold of Ed McCaffrey.
10. Find another running back to complement Knowshon Moreno
I think the anti-Moreno rhetoric is a bit over-blown. He’s entering his third season, and showed some progress last season despite a hamstring injury. D’Angelo Williams would be a great addition because he could add zip and the home-run threat to this offense, but its way too early to kick Moreno to the curb.
If the Broncos can follow these 10 golden rules, then we should expect nothing less than a playoff appearance.