Given the Broncos' regular-season schedule for 2017, Denver better get its quarterback situation figured out well before it hosts the Los Angeles Chargers to open the season on a Monday night. Because the remainder of the Broncos' schedule is tough.
The Broncos will appear on national TV in primetime slots five times in 2017, which means the NFL still considers them the attractive playoff contender they are. But that also means Denver's quest to return to the playoffs after the Super Bowl hangover that was its 2016 season will not be easy. Here's a breakdown of the Broncos' 2017 schedule in its entirety.
Broncos schedule 2017
Chargers, Cowboys, at Bills
The Chargers' ability to give the Broncos fits in 2016 means it's safe to assume their season-opening matchup is far from an easy win for Denver. It also will cost the Broncos at least day of preparation for their Week 2 showdown against the Cowboys. A cross-country trip to Buffalo isn't exactly a comfortable way to end the first month of the season.
Raiders, BYE, Giants, at Chargers, at Chiefs
Denver's annual home game against Oakland comes early in the season this year, a week before a bye the Broncos probably wish would have been scheduled later in the season. The break in the schedule at least will give the Broncos plenty of time to prepare for a primetime, home showdown against the Giants before they close the month on the road against the division-rival Chargers and Chiefs.
at Eagles, Patriots, Bengals, at Raiders
Denver's trip to Philadelphia is particularly tough on a short week after a Monday night game in Kansas City. The Broncos won't overlook the Eagles, but who could blame them if they did? The Patriots lurk in a Week 10 Sunday night matchup made for TV. The second Raiders game of the season follows a winnable home game against the Bengals.
at Dolphins, Jets, at Colts, at Redskins, Chiefs
While the Dolphins and Jets games to open December seem winnable, they come before a short week and a Thursday-night game in Indianapolis. If Andrew Luck is healthy late in the season, that game might come with AFC playoff implications. The Broncos finish off their NFC East slate with their last road game of the season, in Washington for an early kickoff. If things go well for Denver in 2017, its season finale against Kansas City could be for the division.
Broncos schedule 2017, record prediction: 9-7
Divisional matchups against the NFC East and
AFC East Patriots, known long before the Broncos' 2017 schedule was released, meant Denver would be tested again this season. Its actual schedule presents tough game after tough game, with contending opponents spread out throughout the calendar.
It'll be same song, different verse for the Broncos in 2017; they'll just have to hope a record near .500 this season will be enough to get them back into the playoffs. With its own division as tough as ever and given the rise of other teams in the AFC, Denver will need to pull off some relative upsets in order to return to glory in the conference.