The NFL sure knows how to market themselves. Even when there’s no season to discuss, and even when the draft — which should be the next “event” on the NFL calendar — they still throw down.
Yesterday, they (Finally! /sarcasm) released the 100% real season schedule, putting an end to the rampant speculation on blogs not nearly as renowned and honest as this one. And let me tell you folks: the Broncos schedule is BAAAARUUUUUTALL.
Broncos may have the toughest schedule in the league, honestly, and if it wasn’t for Peyton Manning coming to wear the orange and blue, I’m not sure this team wouldn’t pick first in next year’s draft. Something, something, TIM TEBOW.
We have several prime time games on the slate, including two the first two weeks of the year, against playoff teams. In fact, a full half of the games scheduled are against teams who made the tournament last year.
Obviously, it’s silly to break down the season before the draft happens, before we know what the starting lineup is going to be, and before we see the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents. And for those who claim reason as a strength, they’re probably right. But screw it, let’s break this motherfucker down (home games in caps).
Sunday, September 9: PITTSBURGH
Ah, yes, the least surprising announcement of the entire schedule release was this game, which was speculated about and upon for about a month. “Hey, wouldn’t it be great to send the Steelers into Mile High for a playoff rematch featuring a quarterback who can actually throw?” Yes, it would be great. And although I’d prefer to beat up on a patsy, I love the first Sunday Night game of the year. The Broncos generally perform well on national television in prime time, and home openers are tough to win for visiting teams at what I’m now calling “The Authority.” Broncos 31 – 21 Steelers
Monday, September 17: @Atlanta
Another week, another prime time game, another playoff team. Atlanta’s tough to beat in their loud-ass dome, and considering it’s early in the season and nobody will be hurt yet, they’re going to be a tough out. HowEVAH, they’re mostly a middling playoff team. They’ve been ready to “make the leap” for 4 years now, and have yet to win a playoff game in that span. Not a good sign. Shades of Phyllis Rivers and the cell phone Chargers. Broncos 34 – 31 Falcons
Sunday, September 23: HOUSTON
Week three, and we’re at three 2011 playoff teams. Wowza. Houston is tough, have a strong running game and a solid QB, and he’s actually unlikely to be injured by this point. So, that sucks. However, Manning’s presence makes Matt Schaub look like the stoner he appears to be in all of his team photos (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Broncos 31 – 28 Houston
Sunday, September 30: OAKLAND
Pfft. Broncos 48 – 21 Oakland.
Sunday, October 7: @New England
Yikes. For the first time, the Broncos will drop a game in the 2012 season, and it will be at the hands of the team that ended their 2011 season. But with Manning involved and without having to watch a certain quarterback derp around for four quarters, it’s going to be a much tougher game for the home team. New England 31 – 24 Broncos
Monday, October 15: @San Diego
The Broncos’ fiercest rival of the last 5 years, Phyllis Rivers and the Chargers host the Broncos in front of 22 people at Qualcomm in mid-October. In prime time. Any Chargers
meth head fan will tell you that San Diego is 5-1 against Peyton Manning, and that’s a fine mark to have. But is it relevant to the discussion now that Manning plays in a different city with a different uniform? No. No it does not. I still think Denver drops this one, as Qualcomm has been Denver’s little house of horrors for a few years now. San Diego 31 – 28 Broncos (overtime)
Two losses in a row is NOT how you want to go into the bye, but honestly 4-2 against that schedule is pretty damn good. And I will take it.
Part 2: HERE