The Broncos are not a threat to the Chiefs in the AFC West

The Broncos are a team on the rise, but they don’t have the firepower to knock off the Chiefs in the AFC West this season.

John Elway and the Broncos front office deserve a lot of credit for the way they are building up the talent base in Denver. That doesn’t mean Drew Lock and his teammates are ready to challenge the Chiefs for an AFC West title this season. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs still the kings of that division and the entire AFC.

Colin Cowherd has gone on record with his belief that the Broncos can win 11-12 games this season. That statement isn’t crazy. The Broncos return a top-notch defense that could easily turn into a top-five unit in the final NFL standings.

Drew Lock has a chance to grow up quickly on the offensive side of the ball. The Broncos did a great job of giving him some young weapons to grow with in this year’s NFL Draft. Both Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler should make big contributions as rookies. Adding them to a receiving corps that already featured Courtland Simmons and Noah Fant gives Lock a great chance to grow up in his sophomore season.

None of that means the Broncos are ready to knock off the defending Super Bowl champions. Lock has some obvious talent at the quarterback position, but there’s no way to know how much progress he can make in 2020.

It’s very possible Denver will still trot out a below-average NFL quarterback for most of next season.  Notching double-digit wins without a quality signal-caller is a really difficult road to navigate in the modern NFL.

Even if Denver does manage to scrape out 11 wins, there’s a strong likelihood that it won’t be enough to top the Chiefs’ win total. OddsShark currently has Kansas City’s over/under for wins set at 11.5. There’s a very strong chance that Kansas City racks up 12 or 13 wins this season. That would put them completely out of the Broncos grasp.

Next: NFL Draft grades: Did the Broncos get Drew Lock enough help?

This is simply a year too soon for the Broncos to start believing they’re ready to challenge the Chiefs for the AFC West crown. If Lock takes a significant step forward this season it’s possible that Denver could be ready for Super Bowl contention in 2021. That’s how good they’ll need to be to give Kansas City any trouble in the division.

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