Adam Rank Swings for the Fences With Prediction for the 2020 Broncos - Sports Illustrated


Nick Kendell

The Denver Broncos are a team on the rise. At least, that seems to be the case according to many of the talking heads heading into the NFL offseason. 

Despite the Broncos coming off of back to back-to-back losing seasons, their worst three-year stretch since the beginning of the 1970s, the closing of the 2019 season seemed to inspire optimism both in the fanbase and across the league.

With Vic Fangio entering his second year as head coach and seemingly stabilizing the locker room post-Vance Joseph, along with a very experienced and respected coaching staff, a defense that has some standout pieces along with Bradley Chubb returning from injury, a young exciting offensive core, and a 23-year-old quarterback with upside and moxie in Drew Lock, the perception of the Broncos across the NFL is evolving.

Perhaps no one in the NFL media was lower on the 2019 Broncos than NFL Network’s Adam Rank. After receiving a heaping of flack following his 2019 preseason prediction with the Broncos finishing 2-14.

While Rank hit the nail on the head about how much the Broncos’ offense would struggle with the comically immobile Joe Flacco in a league more and more dependent on quarterback’s who can negate pass rush with their legs, he appears to have been wrong about the Broncos’ bringing in Fangio.

Perhaps Rank is attempting to earn some goodwill from the fanbase after the onslaught that was brought upon him last preseason because his tune has changed. Rank now predicts that in the 2020 season, the Broncos could very well be the team to make a San Francisco 49ers-caliber turnaround.

With seven wins, Denver actually enjoyed its most successful season in three years. And honestly, if not for the last-minute heroics by a couple of GOATs -- Mitch Trubisky and Gardner Minshew -- this team could have hit the postseason in the AFC. But that was last year. Let's talk about this coming year, because I love Denver as a playoff team. We still have a long way to go before training camp, but Broncos fans should feel very good about this team's chances -- yes, even with the AFC West featuring the defending champion Chiefs and improving Las Vegas Raiders.

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Rank isn’t the only one taking note of the Broncos’ being a potential dark horse for a contender in 2020 either, as Colin Cowherd recently listed the Broncos as his No. 10 team heading into the offseason, boldly predicting the team will walk out of next season with 11 wins. Playing in a Division with the reigning Super Bowl Champions, an 11-win campaign coming off of three losing seasons is nothing to scoff at all things considered.

The Broncos do have a lot going for them going into the offseason. Finishing the 2019 Regular season 4-1 behind Lock, the arrow is pointing up. On top of a young offensive core starting to emerge and a solid defense with a great schemer in Fangio and some unique pieces, the Broncos also have a solid amount of capital to improve the roster this offseason. 

With current holes at wide receiver, the offensive line, cornerback, and the interior defensive line, John Elway and the Broncos will have their work cutout for them on reshaping the roster heading into next season.

The soft rebuild that the franchise has undergone the past two seasons on top of a very promising young quarterback and a stabilizing presence that can help get the most out of the defense at head coach in Fangio, there is no reason to think the Broncos won’t contend for the playoffs in 2020. 

Currently, the oddsmakers have the Broncos’ 2020 win line set at eight, but a lot can change over the next few months. No one knows exactly how next season will play out for the Broncos, but Denver is in as good of a position to truly compete since Peyton Manning played under center in the Mile High City.

Will the Broncos end up being the 2020 version of the 49ers who went from the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 draft to appearing in the Super Bowl, or will they end up the Cleveland Browns who came into last season with loads of hype but completely falling flat due to issues on the roster, the coaching staff, and the front office? 

A lot will come down to whether Fangio and Lock, in fact, prove to be the ‘answer’ at two of the most important positions for sustained success.

Continue to sleep on Denver if you wish, but the league is starting to take notice of what this team has brewing. For the first time in years, optimism surrounding the Broncos is truly warranted. Here’s to a fun offseason but 2020 can’t get here soon enough.

Follow Nick on Twitter @NickKendellMHH and @MileHighHuddle

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