The blood has started flowing to my extremities again. With the NFL’s release of its regular season schedule for all 32 teams, the reality of an NFL season jumpstarted my heart in a way that no other sport can.
To break the CBA doldrums and get you thinking about the regular season, I’m going to break down all 16 regular season Broncos games. We have a lot to look forward to with the defending Super Bowl Champions hosting our Broncos, Jay Cutler’s return to Denver, and a season finale against the Chiefs at home.
Without further ado, let’s get to week 1.
The NFL gave the Broncos some home-field advantage by giving them a Monday night home opener against the Raiders. The Broncos have not opened at home in seven years, and they’re doing it in the second game of a double header on the league’s biggest stage. What a way for John Fox to begin his tenure as the Broncos head coach.
It pains me to do this, but let’s briefly flashback to last year when the Broncos hosted the Raiders in October. Not to induce a vomiting, but final score: Raiders – 59 Broncos- 14. It was single handedly the worst feeling a Broncos fan could feel. The day itself played well into the Raiders’ image – a dark sky and cool breeze welcomed thousands of silver and black fans to Invesco where they had a “welcome” mat laid out before them about the time the first quarter came to an end and it was 24-0.
If Josh McDaniels’ head was ever laid out on a silver (and black) platter, this was the game. It was after this game that I believe Pat Bowlen and Joe Ellis knew that the culture of the Broncos had to change.
The Broncos went on to go 0-2 against the Raiders last season, so week 1 of this new season will be used exorcise the demons and squash last season’s 4-12 record.
The Raiders finished 8-8 last year under Tom Cable, three more wins than the year before.
However, Cable is now with the Seahawks and Hue Jackson is the new head coach of the silver and black.
It’s too early in the off season to assess individual players, but the Raiders had high hopes for Jason Campbell when they traded for him last year. Campbell passed for 2,387 yards with 13 TDs and 8 INTs in 2010. The Raiders may look to draft a QB early on to raise the QB competition in camp this year.
In some good news for the Broncos, Nnamdi Asomugha hits the free agent market once the lockout is lifted. Facing the deadly cornerback twice a year has been a lot for Broncos’ QBs to handle, so it would be nice to see him move outside the AFC West.
The Raiders finished their 2010 campaign ranked 6th in points per game, 2nd in rushing and 23rd in passing. Defensively, they were ranked 29th in rush defense and 2nd in pass defense. Without Asomugha, teams should have a much easier time passing against the Raiders.
The week one matchup between the Broncos and the Raiders will have the spotlight on Darren McFadden. McFadden torched the Broncos and the rest of the league in 2010 averaging 89.0 yards per game – good for 4th best in the league. This matchup will be a great test for the Broncos new defensive scheme under Dennis Allen and John Fox.
Week 1 is going to be bigger than the Fourth of July here in Denver. When the Raiders come to town, the energy in the stands and on the field is taken to a whole new level. Insert a Monday Night status into the equation and you can expect fireworks – of the Orange and Blue variety.
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