The schedule is a joy for any football fan, but definitely not worth the several hours dedicated on ESPN to it today to evaluate every single match-up. That said, let’s have a look at what the Broncos are looking at this season:
WEEK 1 @ Oakland: I can get in trouble for suggesting that this is a pushover for the Broncos considering a lousy 7-9 record last season, but the Raiders have to adjust to JaMarcus Russell under center and a reconstructed defensive line. It should be fun to check this first win on Monday night.
Week 2 vs. San Diego: This team just does not match up with the Chargers well. Unless there’s some indication that the defense is a bit stouter on the lines, I don’t see us beating SD at any point.
Week 3 vs. New Orleans: Depends on what Saints team we see: the one with Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush alternating or the one struggling out of the gate and leaning too much on Drew Brees. The Saints have made some good defensive moves in the offseason, so it won’t be too easy to score on them.
Week 4 @ Kansas City: Should be a win, but every time you go to KC it’s a problem no matter how much the Chiefs can suck at any given point and time (and I do not expect them to be good this year unless Herman Edwards has had a complete coaching lobotomy.)
Week 5 vs. Tampa Bay: The first of two games against NFC South opponents. This division was actually worse than the AFC West in my eyes, although the Bucs did win that division.
Week 6 vs. Jacksonville: The Jaguars give the Broncos the same fits that the Chargers do, I’m guessing. The defensive line has to be better to have a shot at this team.
Week 7 @ New England: A Monday nighter in Gillette Stadium. Call me less than optimistic about the odds of pulling out a win in this one.
Week 8: BYE
Week 9 vs. Miami: Unless they come off really rusty on the bye week this should be a win.
Week 10 @ Cleveland: Not much defense on the Browns right now and they traded away Leigh Bodden, one of their good corners. I see a shootout coming unless there’s bad weather, and even worse for the Broncos, this one’s on a Thursday night, making for a short turn-around.
Week 11 @ Atlanta: The Falcons are re-building and I don’t expect them to be that good with either Chris REdman or a rookie QB under center.
Week 12 vs. Oakland: Unless Russell and the offense click by this point, let’s say season sweep.
Week 13 @ New York Jets: I’m more worried about this game if the Jets draft Darren McFadden. If not, then probably another win as the Jets have to find a reliable QB somewhere.
Week 14 vs. Kansas City: Bad Chiefs team in Mile High.
Week 15 @ Carolina: Does anyone actually think Jake Delhomme is effective any more? If he is , well maybe. But as it stands now? Win column, hopefully.
Week 16 vs. Buffalo: The Bills are going to want vengeance for the fire drill FG from last year’s opener, but who’s throwing to Lee Evans and handing off to Marshawn Lynch? Probably closer than I think, though.
Week 17 @ San Diego: God, we suck against the Chargers. Have I mentioned that before?
If I’m being optimistic, I’m thinking 10-6 record right now, but that’s kind of draft dependent and obviously very preliminary. I don’t think 10-6 in the AFC West gets you in the playoffs, though, unless San Diego really screws up.