The 2014 NFL Draft hasn’t even happened yet, so it’s ridiculous to be thinking about matchups and which team is better than which at this point. Based on 2013 records, the Denver Broncos’ 2014 schedule appears to be the hardest one in the league and there’s no lack of intrigue for this year’s road to the Super Bowl for Denver.
Let’s take a look at the schedule matchup by matchup.
Week 1: Broncos vs. Colts — Sunday 8:30 ET — Sunday Night Football (NBC)
The NFL’s marquee matchup of week one pits Peyton Manning at home in Denver against his old pal Indianapolis and Andrew Luck. The Colts were one of the four teams to beat Denver last year, and this was an obvious premiere matchup for week one in the NFL. This game will have a major playoff atmosphere. The Broncos will be out for some revenge in this game.
Week 2: Broncos vs. Chiefs — Sunday 4:25 ET (CBS)
The second of two straight home games to open the season pits the Broncos against the Chiefs, the team that finished in 2nd place in the tough AFC West last season.
Week 3: Broncos @ Seahawks — Sunday 4:25 ET (CBS)
Super. Bowl. Rematch. Although the Broncos have a lot more to prove in this game than Seattle.
Week 4: BYE
The worst possible bye week of all.
Week 5: Broncos vs. Cardinals — Sunday 4:05 ET (FOX)
The Broncos host the Cardinals, who were nearly a playoff team a year ago. This is a tough defense with some really explosive playmakers offensively.
Week 6: Broncos @ Jets — Sunday 1:00 ET (CBS)
The Broncos go back to the land of meadows where they were bludgeoned in the Super Bowl to face their old pal Eric Decker, who should have at least 15 catches on the year by the time this game kicks off.
Week 7: Broncos vs. 49ers — Sunday 8:30 ET — Sunday Night Football (NBC)
This is a really, really good matchup. The Broncos and Niners in prime time, in Denver. This is a potential Super Bowl preview here.
Week 8: Broncos vs. Chargers — Thursday 8:30 ET — Thursday Night Football (CBS, NFLN)
The Broncos get an unbelievably short week to prepare for their AFC West nemesis San Diego, but they get to stay at home and essentially will get another bye week after this game.
Week 9: Broncos @ Patriots — Sunday 4:25 ET (CBS)
Odds on this game being flexed? I’d say the likelihood is close to 100 percent.
Week 10: Broncos @ Raiders — Sunday 4:05 ET (CBS)
Just another trip to the black hole.
Week 11: Broncos @ Rams — Sunday 1:00 ET (CBS)
The last of a three-game road trip will pit the Broncos against the tough pass rush of St. Louis. Also the last NFC West game they’ll play this season. This is also the 2nd 1 PM game the Broncos will play. That time historically has not been great for Denver.
Week 12: Broncos vs. Dolphins — Sunday 4:25 ET (CBS)
The Dolphins had a collapse at the end of last year after looking like they were a shoe-in for the playoffs. They’ll be an interesting team to watch this year with former Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno taking over #1 duties there, presumably.
Week 13: Broncos @ Chiefs — Sunday 8:30 ET — Sunday Night Football (NBC)
The Broncos and Chiefs meet in Kansas City at the exact time they met there last year, just under the lights in front of NBC cameras this time. The trip to KC–especially late in the season–is ALWAYS tough.
Week 14: Broncos vs. Bills — Sunday 4:05 ET (CBS)
The Broncos host the Bills and their intriguing, explosive offensive attack and surprisingly stingy defense (when they want to be). This is a game that’ll be penciled in as a win, though.
Week 15: Broncos @ Chargers — Sunday 4:05 ET (CBS)
Tough late season road matchup with playoff implications. The Broncos and Chargers split last season, each team winning on the road. The Broncos also beat San Diego in the playoffs.
Week 16: Broncos @ Bengals — Monday 8:30 ET — Monday Night Football (ESPN)
The Broncos usually get an earlier Monday Night Football game, but this is a very good matchup and the Bengals are really tough at home. Jon Gruden will be happy to have a playoff team–maybe two–to watch in the last MNF game of the year.
Week 17: Broncos vs. Raiders — Sunday 4:25 ET (CBS)
I think this game is important because the Broncos get to host their regular season finale. They were on the road last year in Oakland for the finale so playing IN Denver here entering the playoffs I think is significant.