Broncos projection for the 2022 season

Jon Heath
Broncos Wire

Not everyone is buying the hype around the Denver Broncos following the arrival of star quarterback Russell Wilson.

In his annual NFL preview, USA TODAY’s Nate Davis has predicted the Broncos will finish 8-9 this year, good for last place in the AFC West. He doesn't see Wilson and new head coach Nathaniel Hackett jelling and predicts strength of schedule will be too difficult for the franchise to return to the playoffs.

Davis has the Kansas City Chiefs (11-6) winning the division yet again with the Los Angeles Chargers (11-6) making the playoffs as a Wild Card team. The Las Vegas Raiders (9-8) finish in third place in Davis’ prediction.

Elsewhere in the conference, the Buffalo Bills (15-2) run away with the No. 1 seed, followed by the Baltimore Ravens (12-5) and Cincinnati Bengals (12-5). The AFC’s two other playoff teams in Davis’ prediction are the New England Patriots (10-7) and Indianapolis Colts (9-8, division winner).

Denver Broncos quarterbacks Russell Wilson (3) Josh Johnson (11) and Brett Rypien, right, take part in drills at the NFL football team's headquarters Monday, May 23, 2022, in Centennial, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Last year, Davis also predicted Denver would go 8-9. He had the Broncos finishing in third place in the division above the 8-9 Raiders. Denver ended up going 7-10 and finished fourth in the AFC West in 2021.