It feels like ages since the Denver Broncos last played football, and even longer since they missed the playoffs. As they start prepping for training camp, it is time to look ahead to this season’s schedule. But, before we do, let’s take a sad trip down memory lane.
The Broncos ended the 2016 season with a drab 9-7 record, a third place finish in the AFC west, and entirely too many questions. While the defense had moments where it seems like they forgot how to pass rush, the offense again proved to be a giant mess. A weak and inconsistent offensive line was coupled with inefficient quarterbacks, a running game that left town the moment CJ Anderson became injured, and a coaching staff that seemed to be asleep at the wheel.
John Elway and company have spent the offseason focused on adding depth in key offensive positions, while beefing up the secondary. Major overhauls in coaching have brought forth throngs of doubt among the Broncos faithful, especially after beloved Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips did not get a contract renewal. The largest question remains; who will be the Broncos starting quarterback? Will it be perennial “good guy” Trevor Siemian, or up-start Paxton Lynch? Will either quarterback be able to fix this broken offense, and get the Broncos back into the post-season?
Now, let’s take a deep dive into the Denver Broncos 2017 schedule!
Week 1- San Diego Chargers @ Broncos (National)
What a way to start the season! Part two of a Monday Night Football doubleheader! A division showdown is always sure to be a good time, except for fans on the East Coast. Those poor schmucks have to wait until 11:20 pm for the game to start. The Broncos should be able to easily handle the Chargers at home.
SCORE: 17-10, Broncos
Week 2- Dallas Cowboys @ Broncos
This is quickly turning into a marquee match up for the season. Dak Prescott is coming off what is arguably one of the best rookie quarterback performances in NFL history. The chemistry between him and 2nd-year running back Ezekiel Elliott is the stuff of legends. Unless the Broncos offense scores quickly and early, this game could get ugly.
SCORE: 24-17, Cowboys
Week 3- Broncos @ Buffalo Bills
The Broncos should be able to easily handle the Bills tepid offense, but unless the Broncos can get some points on the offensive side of the ball, this could be anybody’s game. Expect this one to be low-scoring.
SCORE: 13-10, Broncos
Week 4- Oakland Raiders @ Broncos
The Raiders were a formidable force in the 80’s and 90’s, and a game between these two storied teams would be gritty, brutal, and a great time. The Raiders seem to have found a semblance of their former selves over the last two years, and can no longer be quickly cast aside. It will be a battle of defenses, and the Raiders will barely edge out the Broncos for the win.
SCORE: 17-14, Raiders in OT
Week 5- BYE WEEK
After seeing what the remaining schedule looks like, this bye week will feel like it was a lifetime ago.
Week 6- NY Giants @ Broncos (National)
Aren’t all these home prime time games awesome? Not when the Broncos have to contend with three road games in a row. The Broncos need to make sure they are focusing on the task at hand, and not looking ahead to the grueling schedule ahead of them. The Giants are not pushovers!
SCORE: 24-20, Broncos
Week 7- Broncos @ Chargers
An away game at Qualcomm Stadium has felt like an extra home game for the Broncos for quite some time, and this game should prove no different. The Chargers have two years left in San Diego before heading to Inglewood, California, but most of their fans jumped ship two years ago. Will San Diego QB Philip Rivers jump ship as well, as he indicated before the beginning of last season? In the meantime, expect the Broncos to enjoy that extra home game.
SCORE: 31-10, Broncos
Week 8- Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs (National- Monday Night Football)
The last time the Broncos played against this division rival, the Chiefs made a mockery of them at Arrowhead Stadium on a rainy Christmas Day. Even though this game is in October, weather can still play a major factor, as can the intensity of playing at Arrowhead. Perhaps the biggest story between these two teams is that former Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles hopped over the Kansas/Colorado border, after signing a one-year deal with the Broncos. Whoever wins this game could very well take the division, and the Broncos have a score to settle.
SCORE: 22-15, Broncos
Week 9- Broncos @ Philadelphia Eagles
At least this game is an early one! Unless the Broncos decide to just not show up, this game should be one of the easiest road games for the team all season.
SCORE: 10-7, Broncos
Week 10- New England Patriots @ Broncos (National)
Tom Brady and crew return to Denver, in a match up that may be even more hyped up than any of the Broncos divisional games. There is something about the Patriots that can turn the nicest person into a cussing and bird-flipping machine, and Broncos fans are still hot under the collar after the Pats beat the Broncos at home last year. Tom Brady will eventually succumb to being an over 40-year-old QB and fade into mediocrity, right? Until he does, the Patriots will continue to be the team to beat in the NFL.
SCORE: 30-17, Patriots
Week 11- Cincinnati Bengals @ Broncos
How this game will turn out depends on which Bengals team decides to show up. They are notorious for being incredibly inconsistent in their performance, and when they are good (or bad), they are really good (or really bad).
SCORE: 24-10, Broncos
Week 12- Broncos @ Raiders
The Black Hole has arisen! Playing a game in Oakland has returned to being insanely terrifying, and Broncos fans are thrilled. What will be interesting to see is if the Raiders will still be a contender at this point in the season. Was last year a fluke? (Hint: NO)
SCORE: 35-20, Raiders
Week 13- Broncos @ Miami Dolphins
Ah, Miami in December, against a team that has likely thrown in the towel by now.
SCORE: 32-25, Broncos
Week 14- NY Jets @ Broncos
The last time the Broncos and Jets got together, the Broncos gave them a proper whopping in Jersey in 2014, 30-17. Not much has changed for the Jets since then. The turnstile that is their coaching staff continues to the thorn in Jets owner Woody Johnson’s side. Like the Broncos, the Jets are not yet sure who their starting QB will be. This may turn into a battle of quarterbacks who have something to prove. Odds are the Broncos will be on the winning end of this battle.
SCORE: 22-10, Broncos
Week 15- Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts (National- Thursday Night Football)
This game is going to be broadcast on NBC, NFL Network, and live-streaming on Amazon. Yes, Amazon. It’s still crazy to think that games have gone from being viewed on a 12-inch television with “bunny ears”, to now watching games on Twitter, Facebook and Amazon. What’s next, watching games from the moon? Regardless of what medium you use to watch this game, the result will be the Broncos losing to a Colts team who seems to have their number now. The Broncos have dropped 8 of 10 games against the Colts recently, and that trend will continue. At this point in the season, the Broncos have had to deal with a torturous schedule, and just may not enough in their tank to get the win.
SCORE: 30-17, Colts
Week 16- Broncos @ Washington Redskins
After a much-needed 10-day break, the Broncos head to our Nations Capital for a Christmas Eve special. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am mainly picking the Broncos to win because I will be at this game, and it is my husband’s birthday. If they don’t win, I’ll never hear the end of it!
SCORE: 55-10, Broncos (bonus points to anyone who can remember why that score matters!)
Week 17- Chiefs @ Broncos
The schedule makers sure know how to keep a teams fan base in suspense for the entire season. Remember way back in Week 8, when I said whoever won that match up would likely take the division? It would not be surprising if the Broncos went into this game with a playoff scenario that went something like this: If they win, they take the division and the 2nd seed in the AFC; if they lose, they are out of the playoffs. The Chiefs would love to be the team to give the Broncos their walking papers, but it is not going to happen this time. With a vastly-improved offensive line, a defense that is still the best in the league, and the best fan base in the NFL, this game will be a riot of epic proportions.
SCORE: 27-24, Broncos in OT
Final Season Standings:
11-5, AFC West Champs
Make sure you come on back to Pro Football Spot as the season unfolds, to get the most up-to-date news on the Denver Broncos, and the rest of the NFL!
Leora Ruzin is a Denver Broncos lead writer for Pro Football Spot. You can follow her on Twitter at @LeoraKitty78. Looking for more Denver Broncos news and features? Like our Facebook page HERE and also follow @spot_broncos on Twitter.