The team at Mile High Sports tries to remain two things when covering our favorite local teams: Optimistic and objective.

Optimistic because, simply put, it’s better to do our jobs when teams are winning. Players are more talkative, teams are more cooperative, fans are more interested. The whole “vibe” is just better with success.

But objectivity is paramount, too. For example, when Vance Joseph continued to say “We had a great week of practice,” following losses during a near franchise-record losing streak, our team wasn’t afraid to take the Broncos’ head coach to task. (See examples one, two or three.)

Ahead of the 2017 season, we asked some of our radio team to predict the overall outcome of the upcoming 16 games.

As it turns out, our team might have swayed a bit too heavily towards the “optimistic” side of the equation. Even the biggest critics overestimated how much the Broncos would struggle in Joseph’s first season.

At 5-11, the Broncos posted a worse record than any of our hosts predicted. Only five of those hosts polled predicted losing seasons, with only one of those expecting double-digit losses.

Here’s a look back at the preseason predictions made ahead of the 2017 season, with my commentary on their accuracy…

David Hurlbut | @HurlbutHuddle
The Morning Huddle | M-F | 6a-7a

8-8… and it’s lucky the Broncos are catching the Cowboys without Zeke [Ezekiel Elliott] and half their defensive line. Middle of the pack QB play gets you middle of the pack results.”

Note: David had the Cowboys game pegged, but he vastly overestimated Denver’s QB play, which was among the worst in the league. The Broncos’ 22 interceptions thrown were second-most and their 19 passing touchdowns ranked tied for 25th in the league.

Nate Lundy | @natelundy
Mornings at 5280 | M-F | 7a-9a

7-9. This team’s offense is in desperate need of something. Anything. And I’m not sure they’re going to find it in 2017. I hope I’m wrong, but as we sit here today, I just don’t see it.”

Note: Nate was right about one thing: Denver didn’t find the answer on offense in 2017. More specifically, they didn’t find the answer at quarterback.

Shawn Drotar | @sdrotar
Mornings at 5280 | M-F | 7a-9a

7-9. The hard truth is this: No matter who claims the starting quarterback role, the Broncos offense doesn’t scare anyone. In the rough and tumble AFC West, the Broncos’ margin for error is razor thin, making it more likely than not that the Broncos will be sitting out of the playoffs.”

Note: Shawn nailed the Broncos missing the playoffs, as he did the point about the Broncos offense not scaring anyone. The AFC West was less “rough” and more “tumble” this year, but that margin for error was still razor thin and the Broncos simply made too many errors.

TJ Carpenter | @TJCarpenterShow
Mornings at 5280 | M-F | 7a-9a

6-10. The adage goes ‘if you have two quarterbacks, you have zero.’ Well, the Broncos don’t have two or one – they have zero. And a team without a QB is in ‘Top-5 NFL Draft Pick’ range.”

Note: Credit to TJ, who came closest to picking the actual Broncos record of 5-11. He was spot on in his draft standing prediction, too, as Denver will pick fifth. He missed on the two quarterbacks thing, as they had three. Does that mean they actually had less than zero?

Danny Williams | @TweetsDanny
Morning Mayhem | M-F | 9a-11a

11-5 with Trevor, 6-10 with Paxton. Eleven wins with Trevor scares me because it takes Denver out of the Drew Brees, Matthew Stafford sweepstakes next year.”

Note: Danny would have been close with his Paxton prediction, but he (and everyone else) failed to factor in Brock. Stafford is staying in Detroit, and it seems like it would take a miracle to pry Brees out of New Orleans. Plus, points docked for submitting multiple predictions.

Benny Bash | @TheBennyBash
Morning Mayhem | M-F | 9a-11a

10-6. Youth will improve as the season goes on, and in a passing league the No Fly Zone is still the No Fly Zone – still dominant.”

Notes: Even without T.J. Ward, the No Fly Zone was still one of the best secondaries in the league. Unfortunately, the offense couldn’t do its part in the “passing league” to get to Benny’s 10-6 prediction. Denver’s team QB rating for the season ranked second-to-last in the NFL. 

Benjamin Allbright | @AllbrightNFL
Morning Mayhem | M-F | 9a-11a

7-9. It’s a tougher schedule, which will do them in. The AFC West and NFC East might be the two toughest divisions in football.”

Note: It turns out neither division was particularly good this year. In fact, the Broncos landed the No. 5 pick in 2018 because they had the weakest strength of schedule among the 5-11 teams.

Mark Jackson | @MJax80
Anything’s Possible | M-F | 11a-1p

“I’ll go with 10-6. They’re beating both Oakland and San Diego at home, as well as Cincinnati. And I’m not ready to concede to New England, either.”

Notes: Mark was 66 percent right in the three games he outright picked. Unfortunately, the Broncos only won 50 percent of Mark’s predicted 10 victories.

Gil Whiteley | @Gilfest
Anything’s Possible | M-F | 11a-1p

9-7. I think this is the best division in football and every team in it will have a winning record, anywhere from 11-5 to 9-7.”

Notes: The AFC West produced only two winning teams, Kansas City and Los Angeles. It sent just one team to the playoffs, the Chiefs. Sorry, Gil.

Kent Erickson | @KentMErickson
The Joe Williams Show | M-F | 1p-2p

“This defense is good enough to get them to 9-7 – and they’ll sneak into the Wild Card.”

Note: Denver finished fourth in passing defense, third in rush defense and second in overall defense. But that wasn’t good enough to make up for 34 offensive turnovers. The Wild Card was effectively out of reach by Week 11.

Joe Williams
The Joe Williams Show | M-F | 1p-2p

8-8. On the back of the defense all the way.”

Note: A .500 record was overly optimistic as the defense’s back finally broke.

Sean Walsh | @seanwalshsports
Walsh and McBride | M-F | 2p-4p

“This is probably the hardest year to pick. It could be 10-6 or 6-10 – it could be that drastic. Thus, put me in at 8-8. The defense has the ability to take this team to the playoffs, but the offense has so much to prove.”

Note: Sean decided to split the difference, but the offense had far more to prove than he (or most anyone) expected.

TJ McBride | @TJMcBrideNBA
Walsh and McBride | M-F | 2p-4p

7-9. There are too many things that need to go right for them to be above .500.”

Note: Few things went right, but TJ was nearly right in his prediction. He was one of only five hosts who predicted a losing season.

Eric Goodman | @EricGoodman
Afternoon Drive | M-F | 4p-6p

8-8. I think they will be a more complete overall team than last year, but I’m very concerned about the setup of their schedule and the amount of injuries to the defensive front seven – the run defense wasn’t good last year, and the preseason was anything but kind to that unit.”

Note: The defense was more complete than in 2016, but the offense took an even bigger step backwards. A surprise to many, the defensive front seven proved to be much better than Eric predicted. 

Les Shapiro | @LesShapiro
Afternoon Drive | M-F | 4p-6p

10-6. An improved O-line and running game will mitigate the quarterback situation, and the defense will continue to be outstanding.”

Note: Les had the most optimism about the season, and the offense in particular. The O-line never came together like he expected. Although the defense was still very, very good, it might be a stretch to call it “outstanding.”