After a week off, the Denver Broncos should feel good heading into the second half of the season. They’re on a two-game win streak and beat their arch-nemesis Kansas City, 24-9, before the week off. On top of that, Russell Wilson is having the bounce-back season everyone said he needed after his first campaign in the mile-high city flopped. In fact, Wilson is reclaiming his status in the NFL that was denounced in the court of public opinion in 2022.
While the Broncos are still two games under .500 at 3-5, things are looking up with Wilson, and the offense compared to last season. Since most people aren’t seeing every game Denver plays unless they live in Colorado, it’s easy to believe the narrative around Russ. Although he may never again be the player he was five or six years ago, Wilson has played like a quarterback on a mission in 2023.
Before his first year in Denver was even complete, most critics had written Wilson out of any potential future Hall of Fame conversations. Former head coach Nathaniel Hackett took some blame as well but Wilson was seen as completely washed. But even in games the Broncos have lost this year, Wilson can’t be given all the blame. Last season, the defense carried Denver while the offense made mistake after mistake, and let the team down. Now the two sides have flip-flopped, and it’s the Broncos defense in question.
Quiet Russ is good for business
Sean Payton received a lot of heat early on, but one thing he should get credit for is we’ve heard far less from “diva” Wilson. It looks like he’s refocused on playing football and less on his precious image. The improvement has manifested into the win column often, but it seems Denver is working toward being a foe once again.
Through eight games this season, DangeRussWilson has thrown 16 touchdowns, which matches his total from ’22. Wilson threw 11 interceptions in his first year as a Bronco and has just four halfway through year two. His completion percentage (66.1) is the highest since 2020 in Seattle. That year, Wilson was selected to the Pro Bowl, and finished with 40 TD passes. He’s on pace to finish with over 30 this year, something he hasn’t done since that ’20 campaign.
In Week 10, the Broncos travel to Buffalo to face the Bills. The Bills have been hot and cold this year and are coming off a tough loss to the Bengals on the road. Buffalo is 5-4 and fighting to stay in the AFC East race for the division with Miami, so this game is big for them as well. Denver needs a win to climb within one game of .500.
The Broncos would love to add a third game to their win streak after ending a 16-game losing streak to the Chiefs two weeks ago. That’s the type of win that builds a team’s confidence and could launch them into a new realm, getting them on track. A win for Denver keeps them in the thick of the AFC wild-card hunt and only a game behind Buffalo.
There’s still a long way to go, but every win matters that much more in the second half of the season, especially when it gives you a potential head-to-head tiebreaker over an opponent. If Wilson can continue to play within Payton’s offense the way he has so far, the Broncos could end up being in the thick of the wild card race down the stretch. If they end up missing out, it’ll be hard to place a lot of the blame on Russ if he continues to play like he has through the first half of the season.
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