Who Is This Season's Denver Broncos for Survivor Contests?
Each year, there's an NFL team that's responsible for a huge portion of survivor contest knockouts. Find out who it could be this season.
The 2022 Denver Broncos were a disappointment in many ways. Despite expectations that the team would make a run into the postseason behind talented QB RussellWilson, the Broncos instead struggled right out of the gate, losing in Week 1, and proceeding to go 5-12 on the year, breaking hearts nd many survivor contests before the ‘22 campaign ever really got started.
It’s not like the ‘22 Broncos are alone though. Plenty of franchises throughout the years have started an NFL season with high expectations only to watch things fall apart in front of their eyes week after week. It’s sad but it’s true: there’s a ‘22 Broncos in the NFL every year.
So who will be the Broncos of 2023? That team expected to make a playoff run that will instead fall flat? Looking at the data and schedule, I have a candidate in each of the AFC and NFC this season. Let’s get into it.
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In the AFC: The Miami Dolphins
Dear Miami Fans: I am not picking your team because I dislike them. I am picking them because the competition in the AFC East is going to be fierce, I’m not sure the franchise did enough to upgrade in the offseason, and your QB situation is concerning. I also think a Week 1 road trip to play the Chargers is a pretty brutal start and that’s why I can’t back Miami in Week 1 survivor formats (though they did perform well as road underdogs in ‘22).
Here’s how my thinking breaks down -- Last year, Miami got in on a Wild Card. In the division, they lost to the Bills twice, and split with the Pats and Jets. This season, the Dolphins have the third toughest strength of schedule in the NFL, including games against the Giants, Eagles, Cowboys, and conference-rival Ravens. I wrote previously that the data models give Miami 9.5 wins this season but I believe that’s too high. Seven or eight feels closer to reality, and the Dolphins aren’t going to the playoffs in 2023.
Ultimately, I’m concerned Tua may struggle with availability this season and if he does I don’t think Mike White is a competitive option in the NFL as QB1. That will put much more pressure on the running game and defense to control the clock and the tempo. There are many great offensive weapons on this team, but the defenses the Dolphins must face are no slouches, either. I just don’t see the stability at the quarterback position in Miami and that’s why I’m picking the Dolphins as my AFC choice for this season’s Denver.
In the NFC: The Minnesota Vikings
Dear Minnesota Fans: I am picking your team because I dislike them. I dislike them because they are purple-wearing, dome-playing never-weres until they can win the big one. Until then, they will not have my respect. And friend, I am here to tell you it ain’t happening in 2023. Everything about this team and the way their season sets up spells an early exit and a disappointing season. I’m not trying to upset you, really. Just hear me out.
First of all, welcome to Week 1 of the NFL season and your very first trap game, featuring Baker Mayfield and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Why is this a trap game?
- You are favored, and you are at home, and you don’t have a great track record as such.
- I believe your defensive secondary is perhaps the youngest in the NFL and I am certain it is one of the most unproven -- that’s particularly bad early in the season when Os tend to dominate.
- Let’s go back to Baker Mayfield. Think of the games you have watched where this guy has gone off and that whole Mania thing has kicked in and the energy in a game just changed because of it. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? I think that’s happening in Week 1 and I like Tampa Bay to win straight up over the Vikings in a survivor contest.
Now, about the rest of the Vikings 2023 schedule. It is the eighth most difficult in the NFL. Because you did so darn good last season and won the division, you now have ‘23 contests to look forward to against the Eagles, Chargers, Chiefs, 49ers, and Bengals (enjoy that). You also end the ‘23 schedule with back-to-back-to-back division tilts (two against the Lions, one against the Packers), which will probably decide who goes to the playoffs, and who goes back to Minnesota.
The truth is, the Vikings won a lot of games last year but they looked kind of sketchy doing so. I think this year that sketchiness bubbles to the surface, The pass D is one of the worst in the league, and all the one-liners in the world from Kirk Cousins and heroics from WR1 won’t be able to change it. The Vikings will miss the playoffs in 2023, lose in Week 1 to Tampa Bay, and will give up more points than they are able to cover more weeks than not throughout the season. For that reason, the Minnesota Vikings are my choice for the most Denver-like team in 2023.
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