The next four-plus months leading up to the NFL regular season will be spent predicting every little detail of the year. This is one of those predictions. Of course, things will change between now and September, but with the recent release of the NFL schedule, it’s on everyone’s mind.
Week 1: vs. Indianapolis Colts
The team is starting off with a bang on Sunday Night Football. The Colts are an ever-improving team and won the AFC South the past two seasons and probably will again, but it doesn’t seem likely that Manning will let himself lose to his old team a second time.
Prediction: Win (1-0)
Week 2: vs. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs had a very impressive season in 2013, but they still couldn’t beat the Broncos. The team is not as strong this year, so there’s no reason the Broncos should lose this game at home.
Prediction: Win (2-0)
Week 3: at Seattle Seahawks
If this weren’t an away game for the Broncos, the prediction would swing the other way, but the Seahawks are virtually unbeatable at home, losing only once the past two seasons. This game won’t be the slaughter of Super Bowl XLVIII, however, and the Broncos will keep it close.
Prediction: Loss (2-1)
Week 4: Bye
Many fans are complaining about the early bye week, but it could be necessary a week after facing the Seahawks.
Week 5: vs. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals had a very successful 2013 season and were very unlucky to not have made the playoffs. This game will be a challenge to the Broncos, but no challenge the team can’t overcome.
Prediction: Win (3-1)
Week 6: at New York Jets
The Broncos face Eric Decker for the first time on an opposing team. Denver’s likely dominance of this game could very easily make Decker wish he never left.
Prediction: Win (4-1)
Week 7: vs. San Francisco 49ers
This is arguably Denver’s toughest home game. Just like the Seahawks game, the winner of these two power teams will be the home team. The Broncos squeak out with a very close win.
Prediction: Win (5-1)
Week 8: vs. San Diego Chargers
Philip Rivers and company were the only ones to beat Denver in Denver last season. Manning won’t let that happen again, and Philip River’s bolo tie will have to celebrate victory another time.
Prediction: Win (6-1)
Week 9: at New England Patriots
The Broncos play the Patriots away for the third straight year, and Manning has yet to win in Foxborough as a Bronco. That likely won’t change as the Patriots hand the Broncos their second loss of the season in what could be the last battle of Brady and Manning.
Prediction: Loss (6-2)
Week 10: at Oakland Raiders
The Raiders were the only AFC West team to miss the playoffs last season and look to remain out of playoff contention this season too. This will be an easy win for the Broncos after a tough weekend in Foxborough.
Prediction: Win (7-2)
Week 11: at St. Louis Rams
The Rams could be a dangerous team next season, but they’ll still likely have some kinks to work out. This will be a close game, but the Broncos are just too good on all fronts to lose to St. Louis.
Prediction: Win (8-2)
Week 12: vs. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins barely missed the playoffs last season and are looking for revenge this season. That revenge probably won’t be against the Broncos, and the home orange-and-blue team will claim victory.
Prediction: Win (9-2)
Week 13: at Kansas City Chiefs
Games at Arrowhead can always go either way, and this will prove to be a very challenging game for the Broncos. The team, however, beat a much stronger Chiefs squad last season, and that won’t prove to be any different this season. Look for the Broncos to sweep the Chiefs for the third year in a row.
Prediction: Win (10-2)
Week 14: vs. Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills continue to have mediocre seasons, and that will likely be the case next season too. The Broncos look for an easy win in this game.
Prediction: Win (11-2)
Week 15: at San Diego Chargers
The Chargers are no team to sleep on this season and by Week 15 could be fighting for a spot in the playoffs. This game won’t be easy for the Broncos, and in a life-or-death situation for the Chargers, the home team will win this one.
Prediction: Loss (11-3)
Week 16: at Cincinnati Bengals
Andy Dalton has led the Bengals to the playoffs for two consecutive years and lost in the first round for two consecutive years. This week, the Bengals will be fighting for the AFC North title in a must-win game for them. The Bengals win with only a small margin of victory.
Prediction: Loss (11-4)
Week 17: vs. Oakland Raiders
Hopefully, this game will be a bye week for the starters as the Broncos clinched the division earlier in the season. In any case, this will be an easy home win for the Broncos, and the team will remain undefeated at home.
Prediction: Win (12-4)
Overall Prediction: 12-4
The Broncos will win the AFC West once again with what many experts are considering the toughest schedule in the NFL. This could prepare them for another berth in the Super Bowl, but hopefully this time to Super Bowl victory.
Follow Kristen on Twitter (@KristenHerhold).
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