Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will face off with some of the league’s elite quarterbacks in Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, Michael Vick, Tony Romo, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Phillip Rivers and Tom Brady.
There are a lot of matchups that will have history behind them such as: a Manning versus Flacco rematch from last season’s divisional playoff round when the Broncos lost in overtime thanks to a blown coverage on a 70-yard touchdown pass that sent the game into overtime; Manning against brother, Eli, perhaps for the last time before Peyton retires; Manning against Luck (his replacement in Indianapolis); and the Manning-Brady rivalry that’s one of the best in the history of the game.
The Broncos will play each of their divisional teams twice and the AFC West has been one of the weaker divisions over the last two or three years, but there have been two coaching changes and an improvement at the quarterback position for one of the teams. The San Diego Chargers added new head coach Mike McCoy, who is very familiar with the Broncos considering he was the offensive coordinator last season in Denver. The Kansas City Cheifs added new head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Alex Smith. These are some additions that just might give these two teams the boost they have been needing.
The Broncos may have the toughest road schedule of any team in the league. They will play on the road against the New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots and Houston Texans, which are all very capable of fielding playoff football teams and contending for the Super Bowl.
The Broncos will host the Baltimore Ravens, Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars, Washington Redskins and the Tennessee Titans. This may seem like a fairly easy schedule at home, but I look for the Eagles, Jaguars, Redskin, and Titans to improve from a year ago. The Eagles have a new head coach in former Oregon coach Chip Kelly and he will look to upstart the Eagles’ offense and he has the weapons to do it. The Jaguars could draft quarterback Geno Smith in the first round, which would boost their offense considering they already have some very viable receiving options in Justin Blackmon, Cecil Shorts and Mercedes Lewis. The Redskins should only continue to get better and the Titans should improve in Jake Locker‘s third year as a pro and with Kenny Britt back at 100 percent health.
If you just look at last year’s records this schedule may look easy but trust me, that could be very deceiving because of the new additions and coaching changes that were made. A lot of teams that got new coaches already have a load of talent and a change of philosophy could be exactly what these teams needed.
The Broncos will be fine and should win the division, but it will be a grind every week.
I’ll predict that the Broncos go 5-1 in their division by losing one to the Chiefs on the road. During their other tough road games they will go 4-1 and will drop one game to either the Patriots or the Texans. At home against non-divisional foes, the Broncos will be flawless and go 5-0 by winning a couple of games on last minute drives by Manning and company. The Broncos will finish 14-2 overall and receive a first-round bye, which will once again put them in prime position to win the Super Bowl.