Much can be said about the way the Denver Broncos came to play in 2012, ending the season with an 11-game win streak that was derailed in a heartbreaking playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Today, the NFL released its full 2013 NFL schedule, and quite honestly, the initial reaction to seeing the schedule leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
We all know after losing nine veterans that helped elevate the Ravens to the top of the NFL world, they will not be the same team in 2013. That’s not to say they won’t be good, or will not battle for a playoff spot, but to say that the Broncos can get revenge on a team that is missing quite a bit of their championship core is stretching it a bit.
The Broncos have home games against the Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans. Of course I will not get into divisional match-ups tonight, but it is safe to say that the quality of that competition is not up to the NFL standard.
The Broncos’ opponents this season have a combined winning percentage of .430 (110-146), which is worst in the league. Wouldn’t that mean the Broncos should have an incredibly easy run to the playoffs without so much as a hiccup? I am more afraid that the lack of regular season competition will not leave them ready for the playoffs.
Peyton Manning and the Broncos have gone on record saying they want to have a more up-tempo offense, and play with an “edge.” How are they going to do that while they play lesser opponents that will leave the Broncos taking the pedal off the metal in the fourth quarter?
The Broncos begin with the Ravens, then visit the New York Giants in Week 2 before four weeks of mediocre to below-mediocre opponents. They will have the chance to play the Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, Washington Redskins and Houston Texans, but those games are separated by ho-hum games that might put the Broncos in the same rut they found themselves at the end of last year.
We have known for a while who the Broncos would play in 2013, but not the exact order, and to tell the truth, this schedule should scare the heck out of any fan that wants to see the Broncos win a championship. If the Broncos do not show a killer instinct in the fourth quarter and find themselves holding back because of embarrassing their opponents, 2013 may end no different than 2012.
The Broncos have been labeled soft in the past. What they didn’t need was the NFL schedule-makers to put an exclamation point on the matter.