By DJ Siddiqi @DJSiddiqi on May 17, 2014
The Denver Broncos finished the regular season with the NFL's best record with a 13-3 record. They defeated their top rivals in the San Diego Chargers and the New England Patriots in the playoffs en route to clinching their first Super Bowl berth in 15 years. Unfortunately, the Broncos lost in Super Bowl XLVIII. If the Broncos hope to win the Lombardi Trophy, here are five opponents they'll have to beat in 2014.
The Denver Broncos suffered their first loss of the 2013 season when they fell to the Indianapolis Colts, 39-33, in Week 7 at Lucas Oil Stadium. This time around, the Broncos open up their 2014 season at Sports Authority Field versus the Colts. This will be Peyton Manning's second opportunity to beat the quarterback who replaced him in Indianapolis, Andrew Luck. This is a big game between two AFC powerhouses.
What needs to be said about this matchup other than Super Bowl XLVIII? The Broncos suffered the third-worst loss in Super Bowl history when they fell to the Seattle Seahawks, 43-8. Denver receives an early chance for vengeance when they pay a visit to the '12th Man' at CenturyLink Field in Week 3. This will also be a test of sorts, as the Broncos will have to go through the Seahawks or another NFC powerhouse if they hope to win the Super Bowl.
This will be the Broncos' first game versus the Niners in the Peyton Manning era. Although everyone is looking toward the Week 3 matchup versus the Seahawks, the Niners matchup will be every bit as important as the Seahawks matchup. The Niners are just as well-rounded of a team as the Seahawks, and came within a Richard Sherman tipped pass away from advancing to the Super Bowl last season.
Although the Broncos did beat the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, they did suffer the worst blown lead in franchise history when they blew a 24-point lead in a loss to the Patriots in Week 12. And because this is yet another Tom Brady-Peyton Manning matchup, this will be another big game between the two quarterbacks. The Broncos need to win this game to ensure they have the tiebreaker over the Patriots by the end of 2014.
Unlike the four previously mentioned teams, the Cincinnati Bengals aren't as highly of a touted opponent for the Broncos entering the 2014 season. The reason the Broncos need to defeat the Bengals in Week 16 is because of the fact that this is a late-season game versus a team the Broncos will likely be battling with for the No. 1 seed in the AFC by the end of the year. If the Broncos win this affair, they likely clinch the No. 1 seed.
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