The 2014 schedule for the Denver Broncos was released by the NFL on Wednesday, and there are some dangerous spots hidden in those 17 weeks. The Broncos will play at least five games in front of national television audiences but only two of them will be within the AFC West division.
Their first national game is on the first weekend for a Sunday Night Football telecast at home against the Indianapolis Colts. Peyton Manning will get a chance to even the score with his old team for the loss he and the Broncos suffered at Indy last year 39-33. NBC has a winner for their first SNF game of the year.
If week one was not enough for fans, week two gets the Broncos right into AFC West divisional play with a home game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Denver gets to start the season with two straight home games, but it only means there will be pressure to win both of them before heading to their already over-hyped week three game against the Seattle Seahawks. This is the first really dangerous spot on the 2014 NFL schedule for the Broncos. How this one failed to merit a national audience is a mystery, but CBS will make sure most of the country will have this one on their HD flat-screens.
If the Broncos happen to lose one of their first two home games there is a good possibility, when the Seahawks record at home is considered, the Broncos could have a losing record after three weeks. Having an early bye in week four after playing a physical defensive team in Seattle is one glaring advantage in the Broncos’ 2014 NFL schedule.
Week five will bring Denver back to Sports Authority Field to welcome the Arizona Cardinals for a Sunday afternoon game. Week six is the location of the second dangerous spot for the Broncos this season. Going in to the 2014 season the New York Jets do not appear to be a team that would be a threat to Manning and the Broncos. This will be, however, the first time in 2014 that Denver will be playing a morning (Mountain Time) game, and these situations have proven to be pitfalls for Bronco teams in the past.
The Broncos will not underestimate their opponent in week seven, as a very strong San Francisco 49er team visits Mile High for Denver’s second SNF game of the year. Danger lurks, however, in week eight when the San Diego Chargers come to town for the NFL Network Thursday night game. The league did the Broncos no favors in scheduling them into a divisional game four days after what should be an extremely physical battle on Sunday night against the 49ers. On the plus side for Denver is the fact that the Chargers will be coming off of a physical game of their own against the Chiefs, and the game will be at Mile High Stadium.
The great thing about playing on Thursday night is that it gives the combatants 10 days off before their next game. The Broncos will use those extra days to prepare for week 10 at New England, which is the first of three straight road games. The string will take them to Oakland, and then St. Louis, making their game against the Rams the fourth dangerous spot for the Broncos in their 2014 NFL schedule. The veteran leadership of Peyton Manning will be leaned on in earnest for this Nov. 16 game.
After a home game against the Dolphins, the Broncos will venture on to Kansas City for their third Sunday Night Football date against the Chiefs. A late-November game outdoors in Arrowhead is enough to get any team’s attention. A national TV audience and a late start will only add to the excitement.
The last four weeks of the season include a home game against the Bills and a visit to San Diego. The Broncos will then travel to Cincinnati for their only Monday Night Football appearance of the year on Dec 22. If there is anything left to play for, the Raiders will provide the final challenge for Denver on Dec. 28 at Mile High Stadium.
The over/under total in Nevada for Denver wins this year is 11. Considering all of the dangerous spots in the Broncos’ 2014 NFL schedule, it is a good bet John Elway and the rest of the organization would be happy to finish right on that number.
Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky