Denver Broncos Schedule 2014: Win-Loss Predictions for Every Game
The Denver Broncos benefited from a favorable schedule in 2013 just like the rest of their division. They proved they could beat the best teams in the league, but they didn't have to do so with any type of regularity.
In 2014, the schedule is not nearly as favorable. The Broncos will have to play a first-place schedule again and the NFC West. The Broncos only play five teams in 2014 that didn't have a winning record last season.
The obvious goal for the Broncos is to win a Super Bowl with anything less being a disappointment. By season's end, the Broncos will definitely be battle tested.
General manager John Elway has restocked the Broncos with talent, so they should be ready for the gauntlet that is the NFL season. Elway hopes his work this offseason will bring another Lombardi Trophy to Denver next winter.
Week 1: Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos
Kickoff: Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. MDT
When Peyton Manning returned to Indianapolis last season, his replacement Andrew Luck beat him, 39-33. Denver's defense was a big problem, and the offense basically beat themselves with two turnovers in the fourth quarter.
In 2014, the Colts have to come to Denver to face what should be an improved defense. Players like pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware, cornerback Aqib Talib and safety T.J. Ward would have made a huge difference if they were on the team in 2013.
Last season, the Colts were schizophrenic on the road—especially against teams with winning records. The Colts had road wins over the 49ers and Chiefs, but bad losses in San Diego, Arizona and Cincinnati.
Against the 49ers and Chiefs, the Colts cored 25.0 points per game and allowed 7.0 points per game. In the losses, the Colts scored 16.0 points per game and allowed 33.7 per game.
If Luck continues to improve, the Colts are very capable of coming into Denver and getting a win. However, Denver's additions and the home crowd should be enough to secure a win
Week 2: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
Kickoff: Sunday, September 14, 2014 at 2:25 p.m. MDT
Andy Reid's squad did a good job against the Broncos in 2013. Manning completed just 60 percent of his passes and threw one touchdown in a 27-17 win over the Chiefs in Denver.
If not for a handful of big plays allowed, the Chiefs would have been a lot closer to winning the game. It was a game that proves just how small a gap there is between teams at the NFL level.
The Broncos should have the edge again in 2014. Not only do they have the obvious advantage being at home, but they were able to do a lot more this offseason to improve.
If the Broncos beat the Chiefs twice and improved more this offseason, then they should win both games next season. Math in the NFL is rarely that simple, but it fits in this case.
Week 3: Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks
Kickoff: Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 2:25 p.m. MDT
Isn't it nice that we get a Super Bowl rematch in 2014? There is no doubt the Broncos were embarrassed by their performance against the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. There is also no doubt that Elway made roster moves this offseason with beating the Seahawks in mind.
The fact that the game is in Seattle makes it that much harder for the Broncos to atone for their embarrassment. The Seahawks have lost one game in the last two years at home, so winning this game is going to require a great performance from the Broncos.
While the game should be a a heck of a lot more competitive than it was in the Super Bowl, the edge still has to go to the defensive Super Bowl Champs. Had this game been in Denver, the Broncos may have been the favorite.
Week 4: Bye Week
The Broncos will rest up in Week 4. Unfortunate early bye week, but it could come at a good time. Teams don't do well the week after playing the Seattle Seahawks.
Week 5: Arizona Cardinals at Denver Broncos
Kickoff: Sunday, October 5, 2014 at 2:05 p.m. MDT
The Arizona Cardinals missed the playoffs last season after going 10-6 in the tough NFC West. Of their six losses, three of them were by a field goal.
Their most impressive victory on the road came against the Seattle Seahawks to keep their playoff hopes alive. However, the Cardinals did not have another win on the road against a team with a winning record.
With a good secondary that features Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu, the Cardinals have the kind of pieces that could slow down Denver's offense. Arizona's front seven isn't young, but they were plenty productive in 2013.
Five of Arizona's six losses in 2013 were to playoff teams, and the worst loss was by three points in Week 1 to the 7-9 Rams in St. Louis. The Cardinals are a sneaky-good team and one of the few on the schedule capable of beating the Broncos in Denver.
For now, the Broncos should be expected to defend their home field. The Broncos have lost one home game in each of their last two seasons, but the San Francisco 49ers are a better bet to snag that win assuming it doesn't increase to two with a tougher schedule.
Week 6: Denver Broncos at New York Jets
Kickoff: Sunday, October 12, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. MDT
The Broncos haven't played the New York Jets since beating them 17-10 on a 20-yard Tim Tebow rushing touchdown with under a minute to play. The touchdown came after a fumble and nine consecutive drives that ended with a punt for the Broncos.
It's amazing that was just three season ago. Fans now expect the Broncos to score just about every offensive possession. In some cases, they have gotten close to doing so.
The Jets were 8-8 last season and seem to have improved this offseason by signing running back Chris Johnson and former Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker. The Broncos would have loved to have Decker back, but they replaced him with Emmanuel Sanders.
It's worth noting that the Jets were 6-2 at home last season, so a trip to New York isn't a gimme win for the Broncos. This is a game the Broncos should win, but it could be a lot tougher than expected.
Week 7: San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos
Kickoff: Sunday, Octover 19, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. MDT
The San Francisco 49ers nearly made it back to the Super Bowl last season, but as the wild-card team they had to win three road playoff games to qualify. After beating the Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers on the road in the playoffs, they came very close to beating the Seahawks in Seattle.
Like the Broncos, the 49ers are very much contenders to win the Super Bowl next season. The Broncos should have the advantage playing at home, but they have lost one home game in each of the last two seasons.
San Francisco's ground game and stingy defense gives them a very good chance to be the team to beat the Broncos in Denver if the trend continues. The 49ers didn't make any big moves in free agency, but they didn't need to since they have defensive end Tank Carradine and running back Marcus Lattimore returning from injury.
Based on what we know at this point in April, this very well could be a Super Bowl preview. After the Super Bowl loss, the Broncos are going to have to prove they can beat a team like the 49ers.
Week 8: San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
Kickoff: Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 6:25 p.m. MDT
Network: CBS, NFL Network
The Broncos lost to the Chargers last year at home. Chargers head coach Mike McCoy knew that Manning likes to get into a rhythm and that his defense didn't stand much of a chance if he got going.
The Chargers were the second-most efficient offense in the league last year behind the Broncos in terms of percentage of drives ending in a score and points per drive. The Chargers were just a lot less explosive but led the league in average drive length, plays per drive and yards per drive last season.
If the Chargers can improve defensively, they have the potential to be a thorn in the Broncos' side in 2014. Fortunate for the Broncos, the Chargers didn't have a lot of resources to work with this offseason and therefore still need a lot of help in the secondary.
One thing the Chargers will have going for them in 2014 are two healthy pass-rushers. Melvin Ingram and Dwight Freeney didn't get a chance to play together last season but should get that chance this season.
It takes more than a fierce pass rush to beat the Broncos at home, but the Chargers' style of play will make it hard for them to pull away. Expect another close contest between two familiar foes.
Week 9: Denver Broncos at New England Patriots
Kickoff: Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 2:25 p.m. MST
The Broncos collapsed in New England last season and lost in overtime, but they took care of business when the Patriots had to come to Denver in the playoffs. Both teams have improved this offseason in what has become an annual cat-and-mouse game between the two clubs.
What we know is that these two teams are still the cream of the crop in the AFC. The Broncos poached cornerback Aqib Talib from the Patriots just like they did Wes Welker last year, but the Patriots landed Darrelle Revis as a replacement.
The Broncos have done a little more this offseason than the Patriots to get better, but the margin between the two teams is still razor thin. Expect another classic battle between Manning and Tom Brady in a game that has the potential to go either way every time they play.
For now, it only makes sense to give the game to the home team. The Broncos could easily win, but it's too early to know how the teams are playing, who is hurt and other factors that can impact a game of this magnitude.
Week 10: Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders
Kickoff: Sunday, November 9, 2014 at 2:05 p.m. MST
The Broncos haven't had much trouble with the Oakland Raiders since Peyton Manning arrived in town, but a road game against a division opponent always has the potential to get interesting. The Raiders have totally revamped their roster this offseason, so this game has the potential to be a trap game.
Still, the Broncos are one of the best teams in the league and the Raiders are just looking to be respectable in 2014. It could be more competitive than in recent years given that this game is in Oakland, but it's a game the Broncos can't afford to lose.
Expect a classic AFC West battle early, but the Broncos should pull away in the second half. Manning is great about making adjustments even if the Raiders come out with a decent plan to slow him done.
Oakland may try to beat the Broncos like the Chargers did last season by controlling the ball, but it's not a plan that is easy to execute. There is also no guarantee Oakland's running game will be that capable in 2014.
Week 11: Denver Broncos at St. Louis Rams
Kickoff: Sunday, Novermver 16, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. MST
It's a short trip east for the Broncos to play the Rams in St. Louis. The Rams were the bottom-feeders in the NFC West last year, but they still managed to go 7-9.
The Rams were without their starting quarterback Sam Bradford for nine games last year and went 4-5 in his absence. The Rams also hold the right to the No. 2 overall pick and will have the opportunity to add an elite prospect that can help them win games in 2014.
With a pass rush consisting of Robert Quinn, Chris Long and potentially Jadeveon Clowney, the Rams are in position to put some heat on Manning like the Seahawks were able to do last season. No matter what the Rams are able to do defensively, Bradford is going to have to play well to beat the Broncos.
The Rams are a team to keep an eye on as a potential tough road game, but the Broncos are still the clearly superior team at this point. The draft can change a lot for the Rams as can a healthy and improved Bradford.
Week 12: Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos
Kickoff: Sunday, Novemver 23, 2014 at 2:25 p.m. MST
The Broncos get some of their easier division games at home in 2014, but easier doesn't necessarily mean easy wins. The Miami Dolphins come to town after a going 8-8 last season, but they were able to beat a few good teams last season and were equally as good on the road as at home (4-4 record).
The whole situation with Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin really took its toll on the organization and the roster, but they have moved passed it. The Dolphins also finally solved the problem they had at left tackle by signing Branden Albert.
This is yet another game on a tough schedule that the Broncos should win, but could be a lot tougher than expected. Playing at home always helps, so it's probably safe to pencil this one in the win column until further notice.
Week 13: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
Kickoff: Sunday, November 30, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. MST
For the better part of the season, the Chiefs were pushing the Broncos for the AFC West lead. The Broncos proved which team was better with wins in Week 11 and 13. The game in Kansas City was still a hard-fought win as the Broncos trailed, 21-14, at halftime.
The Chiefs rebounded in a big way in 2013, but 2014 could be a different story. The Chiefs didn't have much cap space to improve in free agency, plus they will be without their second-round pick.
With the improvements the Broncos have made, they should be able to beat the Chiefs again. Division games always have the potential to go either way, but that doesn't mean you would predict it to go to the underdog in April.
Week 14: Buffalo Bills at Denver Broncos
Kickoff: Sunday December 7, 2014 at 2:05 p.m. MST
The Buffalo Bills had a very good defense in 2013 and drafted quarterback EJ Manuel in the first round, but the team still went 6-10. Buffalo's road wins came in Jacksonville and Miami, so they aren't quite on the cusp of turning things around yet.
The Bills did have two overtime losses in 2013, so they were very close to an 8-8 season. Of their six wins, just one came against a playoff team, a sign that they are still a step or two away from competing consistently with the best teams in the league.
As far as offseason moves, the Bills didn't make any big splashes. Free safety Jairus Byrd signing in New Orleans also hurts their defense. The new-look Denver defense should have a big day against an offense that is still looking for its identity.
Bills Insiders Chris Brown said on the team's official website that the trip to Denver "could be the toughest road game on Buffalo’s schedule."
Week 15: Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers
Kickoff: Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 2:05 p.m. MST
A shining example of how a division game can go either way even when one team is clearly superior was when the Chargers beat the Broncos in Denver last season. The Broncos managed to beat the Chargers in San Diego last season, 28-20, coming off the bye week and at home in the playoffs, 24-17, after a bye week.
Without extra rest, the Broncos may have been in serious danger of losing to the Chargers more than once last season. The thing the Chargers have going for them is a ball-control offense that was able to keep Denver's offense off the field.
The Broncos beefed up their defense this offseason, so a team like the Chargers will have a harder time beating them. The Chargers didn't really have much cap space to go out and improve their defense, so you have to give the Broncos a slight edge over their AFC West rival, even in San Diego.
Week 16: Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals
Kickoff: Monday, December 22, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. MST
The Broncos had no problem with the Bengals in Cincinnati in a 31-23 victory in 2012. The two teams have changed a bit since then, but the core of both teams remains the same. Both teams are still expected to be good in 2014.
One of the reasons it is hard to believe in the Bengals as a legitimate threat to the Broncos is due to their quarterback. Unless new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson can work magic with Andy Dalton, the Broncos will continue to have a huge advantage over the Bengals at the most important position on the field.
A quality team like the Bengals probably isn't going to get blown out, but a win by one point counts the same as a win by 30 points. Chances are the Broncos will have both types of wins in 2014, but expect a tight contest in Cincinnati.
Week 17: Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos
Kickoff: Sunday, December 28, 2014 at 2:25 p.m. MST
The Broncos took a commanding 27-7 lead at halftime and coasted to victory the last time the Raiders came to Denver. In 2012, the Broncos had a 10-6 halftime lead and then scored 21 points in the third quarter in a 37-6 win.
If the Broncos are losing games to the revamped Raiders at home, the season is probably not going as planned. The Raiders are a very different team in 2013, and head coach Dennis Allen is coaching for his job.
Even though they have been losing for over a decade, the Raiders could be dangerous in 2014. The Raiders are hoping to become this year's version of the Chiefs, but the Broncos went 2-0 against them last season. Expect similar results in 2014 even if the Raiders put up more of a fight.