Denver Broncos Preseason Schedule: 3 of 4 Teams Were in Race for Manning

Jason Muckley@@jamuckleySenior Analyst IIApril 14, 2016

Denver Broncos Preseason Schedule: 3 of 4 Teams Were in Race for Manning

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    Are you ready for some Broncos football?!

    The Denver Broncos will be back on the field in their first preseason matchup around the weekend of August 11, 2012. It could be as early as Thursday, August 9. That is only 125 days away. 

    That matchup for the Broncos will be the beginning of a season that the Broncos' brass hopes will end in New Orleans, on Super Bowl Sunday, February 3, 2013.

    The Broncos' preseason schedule was released today and three of their four opponents are teams that were in the hunt to land Peyton Manning. The fourth will be against some familiar company who were re-united this offseason.

    Check out the Broncos' preseason schedule.

Chicago Bears, Sometime Around August 9-13 at Chicago

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    Former Broncos Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall of the Chicago Bears face the vaunted new-look Denver Broncos' offense on a date near August 9-13 (TBD) in the Windy City.

    Ever since an early riff between former head coach Josh McDaniels and Jay Cutler, there has been bad blood between Denver and Cutler.

    Cutler has had some success in his new hometown, and Cutler's replacement, Kyle Orton, had a rough time here too. He is now a backup for the Dallas Cowboys' Tony Romo.

    This is a matchup I am eagerly looking forward to.

    Also, new Broncos backup Caleb Hanie faces his old team, who was attributed to running their season last year into the ground after Cutler went down.

    Must-see TV!

Seattle Seahawks, Sometime Around August 16-20 at Home

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    Peyton Manning politely declined the Seattle Seahawks' overtures to acquire his services and instead had to settle with Aaron Rodgers' backup, Matt Flynn, from the Green Bay Packers.

    Flynn is mostly untested as a starter in the NFL besides a huge game to close out the Packers' regular season. In that game he passed for 480 yards with a completion rate of 70.5 percent, six touchdowns and an interception against the Detroit Lions.

    Flynn has the potential to be a top QB in the NFL; however, the team around him has yet to materialize. The Seahawks retained Marshawn Lynch, which was a big win, but his main targets have yet to really make a big splash in the NFL.

    Maybe Flynn and Manning will get into the first shootout of the season, at least in the early going.

San Francisco 49ers, August 26, 2pm at Home

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    The hardest team the Broncos will face in the preseason will be the one that the starters play most in: Week 3 against the San Francisco 49ers.

    This will be a huge matchup for both teams as the Niners made a late push to get Manning, angering their current starter, Alex Smith, as they fell short, and left a wake of hurt feelings to smooth over.

    This will be a nationally televised game on Fox that expects to draw lots of attention. The 49ers were the surprise team of 2011 after new head coach Jim Harbaugh turned around the 6-10 team in 2010, making it to the NFC championship after a 13-3 record in 2011.

    The Niners have one of the best defenses in the league so they figure to be a really tough contest for the Broncos even with Manning. This would be a great gauge for the Broncos and how they feel their 2012 season will pan out.

    If Manning and company dazzles, look out NFL; if not, some upper management might start biting their fingernails.

Arizona Cardinals, August 30 at Arizona

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    The Denver Broncos close out their preseason as usual in the desert of Arizona. The Cardinals were another candidate that Manning looked at when he considered his options to select a team to quarterback in 2012.

    Instead of landing Manning, however, the Cardinals were stuck with a $7 million bill as a roster bonus for their incumbent starter Kevin Kolb, whom they paid a handsome sum for last season to the Philadelphia Eagles.

    Kolb's first season in Arizona has been more down than up. He was injured last season and only played in nine games. He completed less than 60 percent of his passes and had nine touchdowns to eight interceptions.

    Manning will likely sit this game out and let his backups battle over depth chart positioning.