April 18, 2013
DENVER — On Revenge Tour 2013, the Broncos take center stage for the NFL.
How's this for a hit list?
Broncos vs. Ravens.
Brady vs. Manning.
The Manning Bowl.
Wait, there's more, including five games on prime-time TV:
Week 1: Ravens at Broncos
Date: Thursday, Sept. 5 (6:30 p.m.)
Know this about Rahim Moore, whose career forever will be tied to the Mile High Mistake: His confidence never is lacking. "Let’s go try again — that’s pretty much his mentality,” Champ Bailey said Monday. "I don’t think it affected him as much as people think.”
Score: Broncos 38, Ravens 14
Week 2: Broncos at Giants
Date: Sunday, Sept. 15 (2:25 p.m.)
Consider this hypothetical: With brother Eli at quarterback, would the Broncos still have taken a knee against the Ravens? I still contend the Broncos brass didn’t trust Peyton Manning in the frigid temperatures. Whether it was the cold, his nerve damage or both — Manning after the game looked like a guy who simply wanted a space heater.
Score: Giants 26, Broncos 24
Week 3: Raiders at Broncos
Date: Monday, Sept. 23 (6:40 p.m.)
One prediction for the 2013 season: Among the top-10 wide receivers picked in your fantasy football draft, three will be Broncos. "It's going to be hard to double-team somebody,” Demaryius Thomas said Monday. Fantasy rankings, in order: Welker, Thomas, Decker.
Score: Broncos 35, Raiders 14
Week 4: Eagles at Broncos
Date: Sunday, Sept. 29 (2:25 p.m.)
When a college coach leaps to the NFL — just ahead of NCAA investigators — is that pulling a Pete Carroll or a Chip Kelly? Truth is, USC and Oregon benefited greatly from the violations that occurred under their watch. Both programs probably would do it all over again.
Score: Broncos 37, Eagles 20
Week 5: Broncos at Cowboys
Date: Sunday, Oct. 6 (2:25 p.m.)
Trindon Holliday flies. This offseason, he's flown under the radar. Don't forget, the little man was the biggest reason they were even in the game against the Ravens.
Score: Broncos 27, Cowboys 21
Week 6: Jaguars at Broncos
Date: Sunday, Oct. 13 (2:05 p.m.)
The surprise move of the offseason is one that wasn’t made: Tim Tebow is still a Jet, not a Jag. Too bad. We might have seen an equal number of No. 15 and 18 jerseys at Mile High.
Score: Broncos 28, Jaguars 6
Week 7: Broncos at Colts
Date: Sunday, Oct. 20 (6:30 p.m.)
Welcome to Indy's hottest ticket since nearby Butler played in the 2010 Final Four at Lucas Oil Stadium. Manning remains beloved in Indiana. Would he still be as popular if Andrew Luck had crashed and burned as a rookie? Luck's success eased the pain of Manning's exit.
Score: Broncos 35, Colts 18
Week 8: Redskins at Broncos
Date: Sunday, Oct. 27 (2:25 p.m.)
In Mike Shanahan’s three seasons, the Redskins are 21-27. In his final three seasons, the Broncos were 24-24. The most endearing record of the Shanahan era was how he owned the Raiders (21-7 in his career). That history suggests his Redskins will be well prepared to face the other team that fired Shanahan — the Broncos.
Score: Broncos 21, Redskins 20
Week 9: Bye
Week 10: Broncos at Chargers
Date: Sunday, Nov. 10 (2:25 p.m.)
There is a method to the madness behind our predicted scores. With these scores, the Broncos would rack up 502 points (an average of 31.4 per game, 1.3 ahead of 2012). The franchise record is 501, set by John Elway’s 1998 juggernaut. Add an impact running back through the draft, and I’ll be surprised if the team scoring record doesn’t fall.
Score: Broncos 31, Chargers 23
Week 11: Chiefs at Broncos
Date: Sunday, Nov. 17 (2:05 p.m.)
Among football forecasters, there’s an odd fascination with the Chiefs. Kansas City was the sexy pick to win the AFC West in 2012. Now the Chiefs are expected to make a leap in 2013. I still see the NFL’s best BBQ — and a seven-win roster, at best.
Score: Broncos 34, Chiefs 10
Week 12: Broncos at Patriots
Date: Sunday, Nov. 24 (6:30 p.m.)
How’s this for must-see TV: Bill Belichick’s press conference prior to Wes Welker’s return to New England. Just for kicks, perhaps the hooded coach should include the former Patriot on his extensive injury report (Welker, Wrong Team).
Score: Patriots 40, Broncos 38
Week 13: Broncos at Chiefs
Date: Sunday, Dec. 1 (11 a.m.)
It's never too late to pray for Zoey. She is the 8-month-old daughter of former Chief Jovan Belcher, who killed Zoey’s mom and himself in November — just days after the Broncos played at Arrowhead Stadium.
Score: Broncos 20, Chiefs 10
Week 14: Titans at Broncos
Date: Sunday, Dec. 8 (2:05 p.m.)
Another reason Denver is among the Las Vegas favorites to win Super Bowl XLVIII: It has the NFL's easiest schedule, based on 2012 records of its opponents (110-146). Thanks, AFC West.
Score: Broncos 41, Titans 16
Week 15: Chargers at Broncos
Date: Thursday, Dec. 12 (6:25 p.m.)
TV: NFL Network
The Broncos schedule is a revenge tour — and a reacquaintance tour. Three former staffers are now head coaches on their schedule — a former D coordinator (Dennis Allen), O coordinator (Mike McCoy) and HC (Mike Shanahan).
Score: Broncos 34, Chargers 14
Week 16: Broncos at Texans
Date: Sunday, Dec. 22 (11 a.m.)
I’m no film critic — "The Big Lebowski" rates high on my list — but here’s a tip: Set the DVR for ESPN’s "30 for 30" on Tuesday. An advanced screening of "Elway to Marino" also highlights one of the great draft boo-boos: Seattle taking Curt Warner over Eric Dickerson.
Score: Broncos 34, Texans 33
Week 17: Broncos at Raiders
Date: Sunday, Dec. 29 (2:25 p.m.)
Learned on last year's trip to O.co Coliseum: "Moneyball" was a lie. Brad Pitt never could’ve checked his phone for messages from Jonah Hill. In the lower reaches of this concrete crypt, where the Raiders and A’s play, cell phones don’t work.
Score: Broncos 23, Raiders 21