While the Denver Broncos watched the New England Patriots win Super Bowl 51 over the Atlanta Falcons, it was well known after a 9-7 season that changes were coming to the team. When looking at the two Super Bowl representatives, Denver can learn a lot from where its team falls short in comparison.

The Falcons and the Patriots had a few commonalities. Both had MVP-caliber quarterbacks, a great receiver corps and a viable defense; but what both teams had in common above all else that contributed to their 2016 success was depth and talent at the running back position.

Both Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman starred for the Falcons during the regular season, gaining 1,541 and 941 yards from scrimmage, respectively. Freeman was selected to his second consecutive Pro Bowl.

When Atlanta played Denver during the 2016 regular season, All-Pro cornerback Chris Harris Jr. noted that Denver’s defense was beaten because of mismatches while covering Atlanta’s two running backs. “That’s Patriots all day,” he explained after the home loss, comparing Atlanta’s gameplan to that of the Patriots’ during the 2015 AFC championship game.

Speaking of the Patriots, New England’s ground game was very efficient this year, and contributed well to their offense. New England rushed for 1,872 yards, lead by LeGarrette Blount‘s 1,161 yards and 18 touchdowns. Despite missing time with injury, Dion Lewis also chipped in during the regular season with 283 yards rushing and 94 receiving. Though he only had 166 rushing yards, running back James White also contributed 551 receiving yards throughout the campaign, before exploding for a Super Bowl record 14 receptions for 110 yards, and becoming the first player with three touchdowns since Denver’s own Terrell Davis in Super Bowl XXXII.

In comparison, Denver’s production from the running back position doesn’t stack up well against the two champions.

Denver’s leading rusher in 2016 was rookie Devontae Booker with 612 rushing yards, contributing 265 receiving yards as well. The entire Denver Broncos team had only 11 rushing touchdowns in 2016, 7 fewer than LeGarrette Blount. Simply put, if Denver wants to compete in 2016, it would be wise to follow the model by the Super Bowl representatives and invest heavily in improving the effectiveness out of the backfield.

The team has its presumed starter in C.J. Anderson and a talented change-of-pace back in Booker, but both will need to play better if Denver is to compete with the fiercely competitive AFC.

Bringing in some healthy competition via free agency could be a good way to get more production from the running game. A bulldozer like Eddie Lacy or a security blanket for Paxton Lynch/Trevor Siemian such as Danny Woodhead are possible options for team general manager John Elway to explore.

With an expected 10 picks in this year’s upcoming NFL Draft, drafting a player like Dalvin Cook or fan-favorite Christian McCaffrey could help Denver produce a more effective offense. Even if Denver is happy with its personnel, new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy should look to establish a steady run game that could lead to a more fluid, productive backfield.

Of course, getting some help on the offensive line could greatly improve that aspect of the offense as well.

Whichever options Elway decides to explore this offseason, an emphasis needs to be put on on improving the running back productivity. Doing so could send the Broncos and their elite defense right back to playing football in January.