The Denver Broncos are coming off what could be a momentous offseason, having made a couple of coaching hires and veteran acquisitions, while flooding the roster with 10 draft picks — three of which are wide receivers.
With Drew Lock entering his second year and first full season as the starting quarterback, the outlook is one of optimism heading into the 2020 campaign. We’ve had the list of opponents the Broncos would face in the 2020 regular season, but until Thursday night, we didn’t know the order.
Denver Broncos Schedule
Week 1: Denver Broncos vs Tennessee Titans (MNF) | September 14
Week 2: Denver Broncos vs Pittsburgh Steelers | September 20
Week 3: Denver Broncos vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers | September 27
Week 4: Denver Broncos vs New York Jets (TNF) | October 1
Week 5: Denver Broncos vs New England Patriots | October 11
Week 6: Denver Broncos vs Miami Dolphins | October 18
Week 7: Denver Broncos vs Kansas City Chiefs | October 25
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: Denver Broncos vs Atlanta Falcons | November 8
Week 10: Denver Broncos vs Las Vegas Raiders | November 15
Week 11: Denver Broncos vs Los Angeles Chargers | November 22
Week 12: Denver Broncos vs New Orleans Saints | November 29
Week 13: Denver Broncos vs Kansas City Chiefs (SNF) | December 6
Week 14: Denver Broncos vs Carolina Panthers | December 13
Week 15: Denver Broncos vs Buffalo Bills | December 19 or 20 (TBD)
Week 16: Denver Broncos vs Los Angeles Chargers | December 26 or 27 (TBD)
Week 17: Denver Broncos vs Las Vegas Raiders | January 3
Broncos strength of schedule & prediction
When looking at the Broncos’ opponents combined record in 2019 (131-125, .512), they have the No. 12-toughest schedule in the NFL. When counting the Chiefs twice, the Broncos have 6 of their 16 games (23 percent) against returning playoff teams. They face every AFC playoff team from 2019 except for the Texans and Ravens.
Unfortunately, some of the weaker teams on the Broncos’ schedule are more dangerous and the top teams remain strong. In reality, the Broncos have one of hardest slates, in the top five based on projected win totals.
Toughest tests: The Broncos did load up offensively around Lock to better compete with the Chiefs, but it doesn’t get any tougher than that home-and-away series, given how Patrick Mahomes owns them. The Raiders also have improved and the Chargers can be more daunting defensively.
The Broncos have four brutal interdivision home games, too, in the Bills, Titans, Saints and Buccaneers. The roadblock that stands out is the Steelers with the Patriots being a close second, both because of defense.
Biggest breaks: The Broncos don’t have too many breaks outside the division. They must beat the Dolphins and Jets in AFC play to have any shot of a wild card. They also are capable of going 3-1 or 4-0 combined against the Raiders and the Chargers in what figure to be four close games.
The two non-conference games to balance out New Orleans and Tampa Bay are Atlanta and Carolina. Unfortunately, those Falcons and Panthers games are at the end of long road trips.
Bottom line: The Broncos went crazy trying to help Lock with more help at running back (Melvin Gordon), wide receiver (Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler), tight end. and offensive line.
But Fangio’s defense is getting a little long in the tooth around game-changers such as Von Miller and Justin Simmons. There’s promise the Broncos can turn the corner, but the schedule may delay their playoff contention until 2021.
Record prediction: 8-8