Broncos Schedule Breakdown

Thanks to all who participated in the Broncos flag giveway, and congratulations to Jake for winning the random drawing. To be entered into the contest, I asked participants to predict the Broncos record this season and to give a short explanation for their reasoning. We had predictions ranging from 7-9 to 11-5. I’m going to predict a 9-7 record. Based on what I’ve seen from the Broncos and what I know about their opponents, here’s a breakdown for my prediction:

Week 1: Denver at Cincinnati - The Bengals are coming off a 4-11-1 season, and haven’t improved too much in the offseason. Carson Palmer lost T.J. Who’s Your Mama  Houshmenzadeh, and picked up an older Laveraneus Coles. Their offensive line was terrible last year, and so they got two guys in the draft who look to compete for a starting job immediately. With the Broncos defense much improved from last year, they should be able to stop this offense. Prediction: Broncos Win

 Week 2: Cleveland at Denver- The Browns went 4-12 last year (Ohio has it rough when it comes to pro football). They do have the potential to upset some teams like they did the Giants last year. The coaching staff changed, and they should be able to make their defense even better. However, they still don’t have an outstanding quarterback to lead the team. Factor that in with an inconsistent receiver in Braylon Edwards, and the team doesn’t have enough fuel to put together a solid season. Prediction: Broncos Win 

Week 3: Denver at Oakland – The Broncos know they need to win the first three games of the season because the next eight are all against very good teams. Oakland went 5-11 last year, and their story is pretty much the same for this season. They will go through scoring draughts once again making Al Davis question his decision to draft Darrius Heyward-Bay instead of someone like Jeremy Maclin. I have a feeling Darren McFadden will step up his game, but without an air attack, his efforts may go unnoticed. The Broncos can certainly score against this defense and they shouldn’t have any problem securing a win in the Black Hole. Prediction: Broncos Win 

Week 4: Dallas at Denver – Dallas got a lot better by ditching Terrell Owens (and Jessica Simpson for that matter). This team will be more focused this year as evident by the lack of drama in the off season. In the past, the Boys’ have started strong only to collapse at the end of the year. With Tony Romo, Roy Williams, and Felix Jones, the offense should have more of a balanced attack. I don’t have enough confidence yet in the Broncos defense to think that they’ll stop someone like the Cowboys who have too many offensive weapons. Prediction: Broncos Lose

Week 5: New England at Denver – Payback is in order. Josh McDaniels knows his former mentor and QB like the back of his own hand, and the Patriots will be coming off two very tough games against the Falcons and Ravens. Despite what you might think, the Broncos have a good shot here even with Tom Brady back. Mike Vrabel and Rodney Harrison are gone, and with McD knowing the New England system, he’s going to prepare the Broncos very well. Prediction: Broncos Win

Week 6: Denver at San Diego – The first AFC West battle of the year will be a true test for the Broncos. The Chargers have a lot of their injured players from last year back, and they always get amped up to play the Broncos. I don’t think we can contain Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, and Vincent Jackson in San Diego. Even if we do, I’m sure their running game will even the score. Merriman is back and ready to lead the defense.  Prediction: Broncos Lose    

Week 7: BYE

Week 8: Denver at Baltimore – It’s a good thing the Broncos have a bye before their game at Baltimore because this will be the toughest game of the year for the offense. Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs lead the defense while the emerging Joe Flacco is trying to establish their offense. The team also got Michael Oher in the draft to beef up their offensive line. The Ravens are also coming off a rest week, and with them playing at home, all signs point to victory for them. Prediction: Broncos Lose 

Week 9: Pittsburgh at Denver – The Broncos typically played well on Monday Night Football while Shanahan was around, but having the returning Super Bowl champions in town for McD’s first appearance is a tough task. I think the Ravens defense will be better than the Steelers this year, but not by much. This MNF outcome will depend on Ben Roethlisberger. He is known for throwing ill timed picks early on in the season, and then getting his act together for the playoffs. If the Broncos defense can get a lot of three and outs, I have confidence in our offense to pick apart the Steelers defense. Upset of the year right here only because the Broncos are home. Prediction: Broncos Win

Week 10: Denver at Washington – The team will be physically and mentally exhausted after playing two incredibly tough AFC teams. Playing the Redskins at a time when they’ve got such a high powered roster with Jason Campbell, Clinton Portis, Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El, and Chris Cooley on one side of the ball, and Albert Haynesworth, London Fletcher, Fred Smoot, and Deangelo Hall on the other equals bad news for the Broncos. This is a Pro Bowl team in and of itself. Prediction: Broncos Lose  

Week 11: San Diego at Denver - At this point in the season, the Chargers haven’t had a walk in the park kind of schedule either. They will be coming off games against the Giants and Eagles. It’s usually at this point of the season where guys are tired and more susceptible to getting hurt. Someone like LaDanian Tomlinson probably won’t be at the top of his game. The Broncos have a good shot even if Ed Hochuli is not there. Prediction: Broncos Win

Week 12: New York Giants at Denver – This Thanksgiving Day game has all the fixins’ for disaster. A nationally televised game + an emotional win against the Chargers + run down veterans = Chaos. The Giants may have lost Plaxico Burress, but they’ve still got plenty of offensive horsepower and a defense that will knock your head off. Prediction: Broncos Lose

Week 13: Denver at Kansas City – We finally get to meet up with the guys in red close to the end of the season. Again, Matt Cassell is another guy that Josh McDaniels knows all too well. With the Chiefs coming off their worst season in franchise history, I expect them to be better this year. Not by much, but still better. The team definitely has talent on both sides of the ball, and under a new head coach, they will be good, eventually. Dwayne Bowe and Larry Johnson are impressive and the addition of Mike Vrabel and Zach Thomas on defense will make this a better year for them. Like Denver, they are making the switch to the 3-4, so expect one or both teams to have a defensive collapse at some point in the season.  Prediction: Broncos Win 

Week 14: Denver at Indianapolis – The Colts know how to go on some runs. They won 9 straight last year and always seem to have a clear playoff vision. However, they overhauled their coaching staff, Peyton no longer has Marvin Harrison, and their running game is no longer a threat as it was a few years ago. With Manning on your side, a win is never out of reach. Prediction: Broncos Lose 

Week 15: Oakland at Denver – By this point the Raiders will be coming off games against Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Washington. Their young battered minds will be in no place to win at Mile High and who knows what kind of internal drama will be going on. Prediction: Broncos Win

Week 16: Denver at Philadelphia – Brian Dawkins will make his emotional return to Philly as the Eagles make an emotional run for the playoffs. The NFC East race is going to be tight this year, so look for the Eagles to pull out all the stops when Denver comes to town. They see it as a very winnable game, and will probably unleash the Wildcat and one hell of a defense. Prediction: Broncos Lose

Week 17: Kansas City at Denver – The Broncos will pull everything out of their bag of tricks because 1st in the AFC West may be on the line. Plus McD knows that this first year as head coach means a lot in Pat Bowlen’s eyes. Prediction: Broncos Win  

There you have it: 9-7. Like I said, these predictions are being made based on how the Broncos and their opponents have been playing, and based on their season last year. These predictions could and most likely will change once the season starts.

Go Broncos!

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