Examining the Denver Broncos' 5 Most Intriguing Games of 2013

Jon Heath@http://twitter.com/JonHeathNFLContributor IDecember 26, 2012

Examining the Denver Broncos' 5 Most Intriguing Games of 2013

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    On Wednesday, the NFL announced the 16 opponents the Denver Broncos will face next season (including facing each AFC West team twice).

    Denver's home schedule appears to be a cakewalk at first glance, but Denver's road opponents will provide the Broncos with tougher competition.

    With many storyline-filled matchups in 2013, expect the Broncos to have plenty of prime-time games next season, including at least one Sunday Night Football appearance.  Here's a look at Denver's five most intriguing games in 2013:

1) Peyton vs. Eli — Projected for Sunday Night Football

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    Imagine the media frenzy that will surround this game: Denver @ New York, Manning vs. Manning.

    If the Broncos win it all this season, they will open the 2013 season on NBC.  How about a prime-time matchup of Peyton vs. Eli, featuring a pair of brothers that have combined to win three of the last six Super Bowls?

    The two Mannings have faced off twice before (in 2006 and 2010), with the elder Manning winning both times, 26-21 and 38-14.  In 2013, the sibling "rivalry" will continue, and we can only assume it will be aired on prime-time TV, drawing monster ratings.

2) Peyton Returns to Indy — Projected for Thursday Night Football

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    The man who made a name for himself in Indianapolis while winning four NFL MVP awards and carrying the Colts to a pair of Super Bowls will return to Indy next season, leading his new team.

    Another story the media will love, Peyton Manning vs. Andrew Luck, the predecessor against his successor.  During his time with the Colts, Manning earned 11 Pro Bowl berths and five first-team All Pro awards.

    This season, Manning has led the Broncos to a 12-3 record while throwing for 4,355 yards and 34 touchdowns through fifteen games.  In 2013, Manning will return to Indy and we will ALL be watching.

3) Manning vs. Brady — Projected for Monday Night Football

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    Ah, yes, the classic Manning vs. Brady showdown.  We'll likely get a preview of this 2013 showdown during the playoffs in January.

    For a review on this rivalry, we turn to Christopher L. Gasper of the Boston Globe:

    Brady and Manning face off for the 13th time Sunday, and we’re all lucky. They’ve combined for six NFL MVPs, four Super Bowl titles, three Super Bowl MVPs, and the two highest single-season touchdown pass totals in the history of the game.

    They’ve been part of an arms race that has defined the last decade of the NFL. Now, it’s history in the making every time they meet. Sunday will mark the first time that two starting quarterbacks will enter a game with 300-plus touchdown passes. Manning (407) ranks third and Brady (307) fifth on the all-time TD pass register.

    So, set the DVR and savor every second of the action because who knows how many more times we’ll get to see the two preeminent passers of their generation trade pinpoint passes and astrophysicist-IQ audibles. All great rivalries — Ted Williams vs. Joe DiMaggio, Bill Russell vs. Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson, Bjorn Borg vs. John McEnroe, Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier — are both transcendent and existential. They live on infinitely in discussion, but die definitively in action.

    That was an intro into this season's Week 3 showdown.  Next year, there could be even more at stake.

4) Shanahan Returns to Denver — Projected for Monday Night Football

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    Years ago, Mike Shanahan and John Elway led the Denver Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowl victories in 1997 and 1998, making him one of the most-loved coaches in franchise history.

    13 years later, Elway is now running the Broncos with the help of quarterback Peyton Manning and Shanahan is enjoying success with young superstar quarterback Robert Griffin III in Washington.

    Next season, Shanahan will return to Denver with RG3 to take on Elway and Manning at Mile High.  Is it 2013 yet?

5) Broncos vs. Jaguars — Projected Return of Tim Tebow to Denver

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    One of Denver's easier-looking home games of 2013 is a matchup against the 2-13 Jacksonville Jaguars.  On paper, it appears to be a boring game that Denver will easily win.

    In actuality, it could end up being Tim Tebow's return to Denver, possibly as a starter.

    According to ESPN, it is a "virtual certainty" that Tebow will land in Jacksonville with the Jaguars in the offseason.  If that happens, Tebow will be returning to Denver next season, hungry for revenge.

    Whether or not Tebow lands with the Jaguars, the game still figures to be a blowout.  But the story behind Tebow's possible return will be another media frenzy, and Tebow's come-from-behind antics paired up with the NFL's "anything can happen on any given Sunday" mentality will make this game fun to watch.

    Which of Denver's 2013 games are you most excited about?  There are plenty of interesting showdowns to chose from!