How the Denver Broncos can win the AFC West

AFC West, Denver Broncos

Two years after winning a Super Bowl, the Denver Broncos found themselves in the AFC West basement. What can they do to grab the top spot in the division?

It’s been a pretty steady decline for these Denver Broncos since the club handled the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. In fact, it has been an even rougher stretch since the then-depending champions opened the following season with four consecutive victories.

All told, the team is a combined 10-18 in its last 28 contests and is coming off the franchise’s first losing campaign since 2010.

Still, the AFC West was far from fearsome a year ago. The eventual division Kansas City Chiefs finished 5-6 after opening 5-0 and were an early playoff exit. The Los Angeles Chargers finished strong after a 0-4 start but still have some work to do. And the Oakland Raiders come off a 6-10 showing and have once again made a head coaching change (Jon Gruden).

So could the Broncos make it all the way back in 2018? Here are three things that could be pivotal to the team’s comeback attempt.

3. Commitment to the running game

Things have changed in the Denver Broncos’ backfield, starting with the decision to part ways with team rushing leader C.J. Anderson this offseason. He recently latched on with the Carolina Panthers and comes off a season in which he ran for 1,007 yards and three scores. The main man in the backfield at the moment appears to be Devontae Booker, who was limited to 79 carries and 299 yards (1 touchdown) in 13 games. He also finished third on the club with 30 catches in ’17.

For what it’s worth, the Minnesota Vikings finished with 501 total running plays this past season. It was a big reason quarterback Case Keenum had the success that he had. That kind of commitment can do a lot for a team on both sides of the football. Along with Booker, there’s second-year running back De’Angelo Henderson and 2018 draft picks Royce Freeman (3-Oregon) and David Williams (7-Arkansas). All told, controlling the football could be the key to this team seizing control of the AFC West.

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