Many a wager in Denver was made with the phrase “eight and eight” as the focal point. Some thought the Broncos could win more, plenty thought less. Either way, “8-8” was a number that founds folks on either side willing to make a wager. Yours truly is just five more wins away from a complimentary filet mignon – medium rare, please.

That 8-8 was the number seems almost silly now. Sitting at 3-0, the Denver Broncos appear to the be the class of the AFC.

Again. Still. Per usual.

How then, did any of us ever arrive at a record of 8-8? That’s a good question in retrospect. The defense that won Super Bowl 50 is still intact. They’re still mad, angry that anyone ever doubted them, ticked that there were a handful of people who said Carolina was still the better team, miffed that losing two seemingly replaceable free agents would be just cause for doubt.

If you were someone who still believed in the defense, but still considered 8-8 to be a fair starting point for a bet, it’s because you didn’t have faith in the quarterback. That’s fair – nobody’s going to bet the farm on a “rookie” seventh rounder from Northwestern. But what few considered is the fact that a coach who knew precisely how to mask his team’s weaknesses on offense of a year ago is still holding the clipboard. People like to describe quarterbacks as “game managers” but really, Gary Kubiak is the ultimate game manager. He plays to the strength of his team, knowing better than anyone what risks aren’t worth taking.

While Trevor Siemian had his best game as a Bronco on Sunday, his success should largely be attributed to Kubiak. As Andy Benoit of MMQB pointed out in his recent column, Kubiak has put Siemian in the right situations all season long.

With this defense, and this coach, and a quarterback who’s proven to be both capable and moldable, there’s an undeniable truth that exists in Denver and around the NFL: The Broncos are good. Damn good.

How good? First, with the ever-present asterisk of *must stay healthy, Denver can repeat as Super Bowl champs. But second, and completely preposterous just two weeks ago, the Broncos can run the table.

From 8-8 to historically great? Why not? Follow along.

@ Tampa Bay 10/2 Somewhere, sometime this summer, someone said, “Carolina, Indy and Cincy and a ‘much-improved-Bucs-team’ on the road? This team could start a big oh-and-4!” Well, Denver is 3-0 and the Bucs aren’t much improved. 4-0.

vs. Atlanta 10/9 Does anyone believe in Matt Ryan? I don’t, particularly against Denver pass rush and with the likes of Aqib Talib making Julio Jones’ trip to Denver not so fun (just ask A.J. Green). 5-0.

@ San Diego 10/13 Anyone in Denver who says they’re not scared of Philip Rivers is lying. Plus it’s a Thursday night – which is always dicey. Last season, however, Brock Osweiler went into Qualcomm and only had to win a half to win the game. San Diego, now at 1-2, is short on weapons. 6-0.

vs. Houston 10/24 – Assuming you caught last Thursday’s “thriller” in Foxborough, I don’t need to explain how and why Siemian can handle this joke of an outfit. A better bet is whether or not the hated Osweiler will return to Houston in one piece. The over-under is currently set at 1.5 pieces. 7-0.

vs. San Diego 10/30 – Again, this one makes even the most confident Broncos backer nervous. There’s just something about Rivers. Still, Denver is simply a better team. 8-0.

@ Oakland 11/6 – This is another one that some folks will mark on the schedule as a potential loss. I’m of the opinion that the Raiders are still a year away. They’re currently 2-1 but could easily be 1-2 (a lucky – very lucky – win in New Orleans in Week 1 makes this mark deceiving) and the “one” would be an uninspiring 17-10 win against the Titans. Don’t forget, Denver went into Oakland and took care of business last season behind an elderly Peyton Manning and a D that allowed just 10 points. 9-0.

@ New Orleans 11/13 – When a great offense meets a great defense, the defense usually wins (see Super Bowls 48 and 50). When a formerly great offense meets a currently great defense, the defense will win convincingly. Sorry, Drew. 10-0.

vs. Kansas City 11/27 – The Chiefs should have lost to the Chargers in Week 1, then they did lose to the Texans in Week 2. I know, this was supposed to be the year. Guess what? It’s always supposed to be the year in K.C. They’re not beating a 10-0 Broncos team at home. 11-0.

@ Jacksonville 12/4 – Remember when people used to construct game plans to stop Julius Thomas? Remember how Malik Jackson was worth a pile of money this summer? Well, they don’t anymore, and he’s not now. Funny how that works in J’Ville. 12-0.

@ Tennessee 12/11 – Playing the Jaguars will serve as a great way to prepare and beat a mediocre team on the road. Luckily for Denver, the game at Tennessee comes one week later. 13-0.

So, the Broncos come into Week 15 at an impressive 13-0. Who knew (I mean, other than me)? This is where things get dicey. Just three more wins to make history, and it’s actually possible.

vs. New England 12/18 – Bill Belichick has got to be sick of playing Denver in Denver. It’s a different story than playing at Gillette. Call me crazy, but Von Miller and Co. might have actually rattled Hoody and Tommy. In the Patriots’ last two trips to Denver, Brady was sacked seven – seven! – times and roughed up even more than stats can show. This one will be a game, but hey, recent history suggests the Pats no longer have the Broncos’ number – not at home. 14-0.

@ Kansas City 12/25 – Every Denverite cringes whenever a sentence begins like this: “When playing at Kansas City in December, the Denver Broncos…” That’s a preface to a loss. It’s true, the Broncos, Arrowhead Stadium and December have never mixed well. But this one happens on Christmas. Sounds like a gift to me. 15.0.

vs. Oakland 1/1 – There’s a score to settle here, as last year Oakland came to Mile High and embarrassed the Broncos. It won’t happen again, particularly with an undefeated season on the line. Make it a clean sweep. 16-0.

Of course, nobody is beating Denver’s defense at home in the playoffs. So, to Houston they will go. There, Brock can watch them win another one. This time from the bleachers.

Take that, Nick Buoniconti. Better drink that champagne the night before.