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Woody Paige: Mapping out a winning, but ultimately disappointing, Broncos season

September 10, 2017 Updated: September 11, 2017 at 8:29 am
Caption +
Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) walks off the field during the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015. The Steelers won 34-27. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

DENVER - To get right to it, the Broncos will have a winning record this season.

The Broncos will get off to an inspiring 4-1 record.

The Broncos will get down after four consecutive losses.

The Broncos will get back to .500.

The Broncos will get stifled in their last two road games.

The Broncos will get a tie in the last game.

And the Broncos will not get in the playoffs.

Got it?

The consensus Las Vegas odds on the Broncos' victory total in 2017 is 8.5.

Don't bet on it.

Predictions on the Broncos' record are 4-10 (by a hater), 6-10, 7-9, 8-8, 9-7, 10-6, 11-5 and 12-4 (by a homer). The Broncos are being picked from first to worst in the tumultuous, boisterous AFC West.

The average of objective prognostications sets the record at a duplication of last season (9-7) despite the changes at head coach and all three coordinators, 14 new players on the active roster (and the return of a backup quarterback - the Wizard, or Lizard, of Os), a fresh offensive scheme and renewed determination to reach the postseason and the Super Bowl again.

The Chiefs just threw an adjustable wrench with large jaws into matters that matter with an astounding upset over the Patriots. The reaction in Colorado was "uh?" and "ugh!" K.C. and the Sunshine Band have beaten the Broncos three times in a row since that 2015 Thursday night marvel when Jamaal Charles fumbled. Whatever happened to him?

The Chiefs will figure prominently in the Broncos' kismet and karma once more.

Here's my 44th annual Broncos game-by-game extrapolation and explanation:

- San Diego at Broncos (Monday night) - Coordinator Mike McCoy absolutely will defeat the franchise that fired him. The Broncos won their first opening game at home (1962) over the Chargers. The Broncos are 36-6-1 in first games played in Denver. They'll win again 26-13.

- Dallas at Broncos (Sept. 17) - Ezekiel Elliott's presence alters this outcome. Broncos barely beaten 24-20.

- Broncos at Orchard Park, N.Y. (Sept. 24) - The Bills are playing at New Era Field. But it's the same old same old era for Buffalo. Niagara Falls, and Bills fall 27-13.

- Oakland at Broncos (Oct. 1) - Test time. Trevor & Team whacked the Raiders in the final game last season, and will do it again early this season 19-16.

- Bye (Oct. 8)

- New York Giants at Broncos (Oct. 15) - Broncos' second night game. Return of Manning. Eli, not Peyton. First visit by Giants since Thanksgiving night of 2009 when Josh McDaniels was caught swearing on national TV. Broncos won then 26-6, win now 21-20.

- Broncos at Carson, Calif. (Oct. 22) - Broncos' first game in the Los Angeles area since 1994 (Raiders). Won't be 35,000 Broncos fans. Soccer stadium capacity less than 30,000. A Rivers passes through it. Broncos bow 31-13.

- Broncos at Kansas City, Mo. (Oct. 30) - At least the Broncos aren't playing in Arrowhead Stadium in December. Doesn't matter. Rip Van Winkle awoke from a deep sleep. So has Alex Smith, who is throwing deep. Broncos stagger second straight week 30-24.

- Broncos at Philadelphia (Nov. 5) - The NFL computer didn't do the Broncos any favors with the league's most difficult schedule and stretches on the road at three different junctures. Broncos drop to 4-4 in a 20-16 defeat.

- New England at Broncos (Nov. 12) - Third night game. No Pity Pats here. Will Brock Osweiler be starting by this game? He did pop the Patriots in Denver in '15. Broncos fade in fourth 28-17.

- Cincinnati at Broncos (Nov. 19) - The Broncos end a four-game losing streak with 35-14 triumph.

- Broncos Aa Oakland (Nov. 26) - The Broncos suffer Carr trouble. Derek et al. roll 26-10.

- New York Jets at Broncos (Dec. 10) - Broncos complete New York sweep 34-0.

- Broncos at Indianapolis (Dec. 14) - Short week for Broncos for Thursday night game, and they come up short in 31-30 horse race.

- Broncos at Washington (Dec. 24) -- Sad Christmas for Broncos 13-7.

- Kansas City at Broncos (Dec. 31) - What a way to end the year and the season. Overtime shortened to 10 minutes in '17. Broncos miss field goal from 65 yards at the end. Tie. Half a loaf? No loaf.

The Broncos finish 8-7-1 (8.5), but are finished.

Forget about it.

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