The Denver Broncos are a big television draw and were rewarded accordingly in the 2013 NFL schedule.
Thanks to Peyton Manning, and the fact they have a damn good team, the Broncos have five primetime games and the chance to be flexed into a sixth later in the season. Two of those five will be road games on Sunday Night Football; at Indianapolis on October 20th and at New England on November 24th.
Outside of their three AFC West road games, Denver will travel for five games against teams they don’t typically see every season. These contests are a good chance for Broncos fans to see cities and stadiums they haven’t seen before, and the two primetime matchups will provide even more incentive to make a trip with the team.
All five of these road trips have some great storylines and are worthy of a traveling weekend. Here are my rankings of the best roadies in 2013:
5) Houston Texans
Going up against longtime Bronco and current Houston Head Coach Gary Kubiak makes for a great game. Not to mention this is a matchup between two of the best teams in the AFC. The Broncos will be seeking revenge for their only home loss last season, a 31-25 defeat at Mile High in September of 2012.
The Texans play in Reliant Stadium which opened in 2002 and is a beautiful venue by most accounts. It hosted the 2004 Super Bowl and is home to the Meineke Car Care Bowl, among many other annual and special events.
The biggest negatives against this road trip are that Houston isn’t exactly a travel mecca and it’s in the early slate of games on a Sunday. If a game isn’t on primetime, you at least want an afternoon start so you can get ample time to tailgate and experience the pregame festivities that the stadium has to offer.
4) New England Patriots
Typically a Peyton Manning – Tom Brady matchup would be much higher on the list, but not with all the great games on tap this year.
This game will be on Sunday Night Football and Boston is one of the most enjoyable cities to visit in the country. Plus every game in Boston should have a little more meaning after the recent terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon.
The Broncos and Patriots will most likely be the two best teams in the AFC when the regular season winds down. Because of that this game could decide who gets home field advantage for a potential playoff rematch. Seeing a game of this magnitude in person is always worthwhile.
3) New York Giants
A Manning Bowl in New York City is hard to beat.
MetLife Stadium is pretty much brand new since it was opened in 2010 and it will be the site of this year’s Super Bowl. Could this be the first of two games Denver will play at MetLife Stadium this season? Time will tell.
It’s hard to argue against this road trip. New York is one of the greatest Cities in the world and the stadium is so new it is pretty much guaranteed you haven’t been there yet. The fact the Manning Bowl will be the focus of the football world that weekend is just icing on the cake.
2) Indianapolis Colts
The primetime game at Indy will be a truly unique experience. There will probably never be another game in NFL history where every fan in the stadium, home or away, loves the visiting quarterback more than any other player on the field. For one game the negativity between opposing fans will be very small if not completely nonexistent.
Peyton Manning is to Indianapolis what John Elway is to Denver. It will be an emotional game for everyone involved and is a must see based on the uniqueness of this matchup alone.
1) Dallas Cowboys
The game at Dallas makes it to the top of this list for one reason: Jerry World. By all accounts the new Cowboys Stadium must be seen to be believed. It’s been said that visiting fans can be so enthralled by the stadium experience that they end up missing most of the game.
Opened in 2009, Cowboys Stadium cost $1.3 billion. That’s billion. With a b.
It can handle over 100,000 people if you include standing room and the video board hanging over the playing surface is one of the largest high-definition TV screens in the entire world. If you include the Texas barbeque, the game day experience at a Cowboys game is one of a kind.
Since Dallas is an NFC team, there probably won’t be another chance to see Denver play in their stadium for eight years, so the time is now.
I know I’ll be in Dallas this season. Come join me so we can paint Jerry World orange for a day!