Athlon breaks down each and every team's schedule for the 2013 NFL season
Despite last season's playoff disappointment, the goal remains the same for the Denver Broncos in 2013 – Super Bowl or bust. Can Peyton Manning get them there? Here's our look at the Broncos' 2013 NFL schedule.
Denver Broncos 2013 Schedule:
Week 1: Baltimore (Thurs.)
Week 2: at New York Giants
Week 3: Oakland (Mon.)
Week 4: Philadelphia
Week 5: at Dallas
Week 6: Jacksonville
Week 7: at Indianapolis
Week 8: Washington
Week 9: BYE
Week 10: at San Diego
Week 11: Kansas City
Week 12: at New England
Week 13: at Kansas City
Week 14: Tennessee
Week 15: San Diego (Thurs.)
Week 16: at Houston
Week 17: at Oakland
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Out of the Gate: Denver's first two games of the season certainly won't lack for intrigue. First, the Broncos host the Ravens on Thursday night to kick off the 2013 regular season with the home team looking to exact some revenge for what took place in January. If an encore matchup with the defending Super Bowl champions wasn't enough of a storyline, how about the added subplot of Elvis Dumervil on the other sideline hoping to sack Manning, his former teammate? After the opening act, Denver will go to the Big Apple for Manning Bowl III. Peyton is 2-0 against little brother Eli and the entire Manning clan will be quite relieved when Week 2 is over and done with. After the Giants, the Broncos get a chance to catch their breath with consecutive home games against Oakland (Monday night) and Philadelphia to close out their opening month.
Toughest Stretch: The Broncos were done no favors as far as the start of their season goes. They did catch a slight break with getting Baltimore, the defending world champions, at home, but everyone knows what happened the last time the Ravens played in the Mile High City. Then it's one high-profile game to another, this one coming on the road in the nation's media capital of the world. All of the focus and attention for the Week 2 matchup between Denver and the New York Giants will be on the quarterbacks, but this figures to be an exhausting and trying week for both teams, with the Broncos having to deal with the cross-country travel as well. This is only two games, but this is one of only two times on Denver's schedule that the Broncos play 2012 playoff teams in a row (at IND, WAS in Weeks 7-8 the other). These opening two weeks could end up defining their 2013 season.
|Swing Games:||BAL (Week 1), at NE (Week 12)|
|Crossover Divisions:||AFC South, NFC East|
|Bye Week:||Week 9|
|Opp. 2012 W/L %:||.430 (32nd)|
|Athlon's SOS Rank:||18th|
Easiest Stretch: Denver's bye comes in Week 9, meaning the Broncos' season is split exactly in half. Following the bye, Denver plays just two teams – New England and Houston – that finished with a winning record last season. The Broncos have to play the Patriots and Texans on the road, but these two games are about a month apart. The rest of November and December have Denver playing five divisional games and a home date with Tennessee. The Broncos were a perfect 6-0 against AFC West teams last season, while Manning is 13-5 against the Titans in his career.
Circle The Calendar: The opening two games against Baltimore and the Giants have already been covered, but these aren't the only two marquee matchups on Denver's schedule. In Week 7, Manning returns to Indianapolis for a battle between the Colts' franchise quarterback of the past and present. Manning undoubtedly will have nothing but good things to say about Andrew Luck and his many years with the Colts, but one has to believe the competitor in No. 18 wants to leave no doubt on the scoreboard. There's also the obligatory Denver-New England meeting with this season's get together set for Foxborough, Mass., in Week 12. If Manning vs. Tom Brady doesn't get you excited any more, how about the added drama of new Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker returning to Gillette Stadium to face the team, and head coach for that matter, that made him a household name? Not to be forgotten, the Week 16 trip to Houston could feature all sorts of playoff ramifications with both the Texans and Broncos expected to contend for the AFC crown.
Divisional Notes: The Broncos play Oakland in Week 3 and then don't have another AFC West opponent on the slate until after their bye in Week 9. Five of Denver's final eight games are divisional contests, including two each against Kansas City and San Diego. The Broncos were 6-0 in divisional play last season and the Chiefs and the Chargers both have new head coaches, while the Raiders have plenty of issues of their own. Outside of road games against the Patriots and Texans, the Broncos should be able to take advantage of their division-heavy second-half schedule.
Playoff Push: Denver's December slate is extremely manageable with the Week 16 trip to Houston the only game against a team that finished with a winning record last season. That clash with the Texans could be chock full of playoff implications, making it even more critical that Denver run the table beforehand. Three divisional contests, including road games in Kansas City and Oakland, and a visit from Tennessee is what Denver has to look forward to as the Broncos hope to make last season's playoff disappointment a distant memory come January.
Fantasy Playoff Run (Weeks 14-16): Let’s face it: As long as he’s under center, you are starting Peyton Manning and Co. regardless the opposition. It only gives a fantasy owner more confidence when the first two opponents during the playoffs are Tennessee and San Diego. The former were 26th against the pass last season, the latter was the team that gave up a total of 579 yards passing and six touchdowns in two games vs. Manning in 2012.
2013 Athlon Sports NFL team-by-team schedule analysis:
|AFC East||AFC North||AFC South||AFC West|
|Miami (6/25)||Cincinnati||Indianapolis (6/20)||Kansas City (6/24)|
|New England (6/26)||Cleveland||Jacksonville (6/21)||Oakland (6/28)|
|NY Jets (6/27)||Pittsburgh (7/1)||Tennessee (7/3)||San Diego (7/2)|
|NFC East||NFC North||NFC South||NFC West|
|NY Giants (6/25)||Detroit (6/19)||Carolina||St. Louis (6/27)|
|Philadelphia (6/26)||Green Bay (6/20)||New Orleans (6/24)||San Francisco (6/28)|
|Washington (7/3)||Minnesota (6/21)||Tampa Bay (7/2)||Seattle (7/1)|
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