It might seem a little sacrilegious to talk about the NFL during the World Cup, but the NFL season is right around the corner and there are important matters to discuss. Like, can anyone in the AFC even challenge Denver and New England for the conference championship? It’s an especially important topic of discussion because it could render the regular season and first two rounds of the playoffs completely useless, at least in the AFC. Why even watch the regular season if it’s going to come down to the conference championship between the two favorites?
Both, Denver and New England were head and shoulders above the rest of the pack in the AFC last season. Yes, the Patriots had the rougher road after dealing with a slough of injuries to key players, so they had a few stumbles through the year and finished with a 12-4 record. Denver got off to a hot start and stayed that way for most of the season, finishing with a 13-3 record with losses to New England, Indianapolis, and San Diego. The Broncos also dealt with a slough of injuries to key players like Von Miller and several offensive linemen. It’s hard to imagine how much better Denver and New England would have done had their injured players had been able to stay healthy.
Coming into the 2014 season, Denver and New England have only widened the gap between them and the rest of the AFC through free agency, the NFL draft, and returning injured starters from last season. Here’s a look at Denver and New England’s roster changed this offseason, notice the similarities on the next slide.