Denver Broncos: A disturbing trend must be bucked in Baltimore

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Head coach Vance Joseph of the Denver Broncos during an NFL game against the Buffalo Bills on September 24, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Head coach Vance Joseph of the Denver Broncos during an NFL game against the Buffalo Bills on September 24, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

The Denver Broncos must buck a disturbing trend when they take on the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday afternoon.

If the Denver Broncos are going to win against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, they are going to have to buck a disturbing trend.

In case you missed it, Brandon Keckler and I previewed Sunday’s game in our latest podcast, which you can listen to here.

There’s a stigma around the Denver Broncos which involves the team’s ability (or inability) to win games on the road early in the season, specifically when traveling east. There’s a reason that stigma exists, and you don’t have to go back very far in history to see it.

I looked at data going back to just 2010 to see how the Broncos have fared in games with these specific conditions: The game was played on the road, in the east, in September, and had a start time of 1:00 PM EST.

The Broncos have played in four such games since 2010, and six games that had at least two of the required criteria.

In the four games with the specific criteria we are looking into, the Broncos are 1-3. Let’s take a look at each of these games.


In Josh McDaniels’ second season as the head coach of the Broncos with Kyle Orton as his starter, Denver lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars to open the season 24-17. Playing in Jacksonville early in the season is always tough, especially for a team like Denver going from the thin Colorado air to the thick, humid Florida conditions.


In the first year of John Fox’s reign over the Denver Broncos, his team traveled east to face the Tennessee Titans for an early-season matchup. They lost this game 17-14. Matt Hasselbeck was the Titans’ quarterback in this game.


The Broncos, now with Peyton Manning at the quarterback position, did not travel to the east coast for a daytime Sunday game but they did have a Monday night game against the Atlanta Falcons, which Atlanta dominated mostly until Denver made a crazy comeback to get within striking distance, ultimately falling short 27-21. Again, this was not a 1:00 start time on a Sunday but fit the other criteria.


The Broncos did not have any early road games to the east coast in these two seasons, and not surprisingly lost only two of their 15 games in September and October in these two seasons (@Indianapolis in 2013, @Seattle in 2014).


The Broncos did not have a September road game in the eastern United States in this season. They did, however, travel to Cleveland for an early game in October and not surprisingly, that was their toughest test in a 7-0 stretch to start the season. The Browns took the eventual Super Bowl champion Broncos to overtime, where Denver won.


This was the lone example of a September game traveling east where the Broncos actually looked really good. Trevor Siemian played maybe the game of his life, throwing four touchdown passes in Cincinnati and helping lead the Broncos to a 29-17 win.

The next week, the team also traveled to Tampa Bay for a game but the game was not in the early time slot. Denver won that game easily as well.


The Broncos had just one road game from September 11 to October 22, and it was a 1:00 game in Buffalo in week three. Vance Joseph and the Broncos were 2-0 to start his rookie season as head coach.

It really felt like this game — which the Broncos lost 26-16 — was somewhat of a turning point in Denver’s season because, at the time, Buffalo was not considered a playoff contender like they ended up being. It was widely assumed they were tanking for the chance to draft a quarterback.

When Buffalo took the Broncos to school after their first two wins of the season, it was demoralizing. The Broncos would find a way to win the following week at home against the Raiders but lost their next eight games.

dark. Next. Week 3 NFL Primer

The point of all this is, the Broncos have struggled in recent history when traveling east and that’s a problem they need to get taken care of. This is not a trend that can just be accepted as the norm in Denver, and the team they’ve assembled this season is good enough to go into Baltimore — a tough place to play — and get a win.

They can’t be affected by circumstances completely out of their control.