DENVER — It’s not the worst idea. It’s not tweeting after happy hour.
But predicting an NFL season is up there. The draft isn’t until next week. What if Baker Mayfield is the guy at No. 5 and turns the Broncos into a Super Bowl contender?
But sports are fun. Predictions are fun. Here’s the 2018 schedule — and 16 guesses:
Week 1: Seattle Seahawks at Broncos
Sunday, Sept. 9 (2:25 p.m. Mountain)
There aren’t a half-dozen NFL players I’d take over 5-foot-11 Russell Wilson. Is 6-foot Baker Mayfield too short for Denver? Nope. “I think Russell is a little bit shorter than Baker,” John Elway said Thursday.
Prediction: Broncos 16, Seahawks 14 (Record: 1-0)
Week 2: Oakland Raiders at Broncos
Sunday, Sept. 16 (2:25 p.m.)
Poor Raiders. First Oakland loses its team. Then Oakland loses a home game (to play in London against the Seahawks). What’s next? Pay $100 million for a head coach?
Prediction: Broncos 20, Raiders 16 (Record: 2-0)
Week 3: Broncos at Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, Sept. 23 (11 a.m.)
Denver hasn’t played there since Chris Harris Jr.’s 98-yard pick-6 in 2012. Now Harris just scored up to $3 million in incentives. “He deserved it,” Elway said, a message strong play is rewarded.
Prediction: Ravens 27, Broncos 16 (Record: 2-1)
Week 4: Kansas City Chiefs at Broncos
Monday, Oct. 1 (6:15 p.m.)
The Raiders and Chiefs hit on a drafted QB. Thursday, John Elway gave a bottom line on his next: “You have to be able to win it from the pocket.”
Prediction: Broncos 26, Chiefs 20 (Record: 3-1)
Week 5: Broncos at New York Jets
Sunday, Oct. 7 (11 a.m.)
The Broncos must rack up W’s early. And no one needs a 3-1 start more than Vance Joseph.
Prediction: Jets 17, Broncos 13 (Record: 3-2)
Week 6: Los Angeles Rams at Broncos
Sunday, Oct. 14 (2:05 p.m.)
Welcome back, Wade and Aqib. A visiting team may never hear a louder welcome than the Super Bowl 50 champs.
Prediction: Rams 32, Broncos 20 (Record: 3-3)
Week 7: Broncos at Arizona Cardinals
Thursday, Oct. 18 (6:20 p.m.)
How the mighty have fallen: only three prime-time games for the Broncos.
Prediction: Cardinals 20, Broncos 17 (Record: 3-4)
Week 8: Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
Sunday, Oct. 28 (11 a.m.)
Look at K.C., making smart moves all over. Marcus Peters, out. Patrick Mahomes, in. If the young QB is as good as the Broncos think he’s going to be, the Chiefs will be set.
Prediction: Chiefs 23, Broncos 16 (Record: 3-5)
Week 9: Houston Texans at Broncos
Sunday, Nov. 4 (2:05 p.m.)
The role of ex-Texans and Broncos coach Gary Kubiak in Denver's draft? "He has suggestions and those are very important and those go into the pot I listen to," Elway said.
Prediction: Broncos 23, Texans 22 (Record: 4-5)
Week 10: BYE
Week 11: Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers
Sunday, Nov. 18 (2:05 p.m.)
Tough to fathom, but the Broncos haven’t won an AFC West road game since Peyton Manning retired. How long does Philip Rivers have left? He’s 36 and they’ve put some talent around him.
Prediction: Chargers 23, Broncos 16 (Record: 4-6)
Week 12: Pittsburgh Steelers at Broncos
Sunday, Nov. 25 (2:25 p.m.)
Good test for the Broncos' new-ish ticket policy. Will it keep the towels out?
Prediction: Broncos 30, Steelers 26 (Record: 5-6)
Week 13: Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, Dec. 2 (11 a.m.)
Prediction: Broncos 24, Bengals 23 (Record: 6-6)
Week 14: Broncos at San Francisco 49ers
Sunday, Dec. 9 (2:05 p.m.)
It’s usually the Broncos and 49ers hooking up for joint practice session during training camp. Now it’s the Chicago Bears going to Dove Valley on Aug. 15-16. Four words: skins on the wall.
Prediction: 49ers 24, Broncos 23 (Record: 6-7)
Week 15: Cleveland Browns at Broncos
Saturday, Dec. 15 (TBD)
Prediction: Broncos 26, Browns 16 (Record: 7-7)
Week 16: Broncos at Oakland Raiders
Monday, Dec. 24 (6:15 p.m.)
On weekend trip to Las Vegas, it was striking to see how the city has taken to hockey. The Strip was packed with Flames and Wild fans. Imagine the bash if the Golden Knights raise the Stanley Cup.
Prediction: Raiders 26, Broncos 24 (Record: 7-8)
Week 17: Los Angeles Chargers at Broncos
Sunday, Dec. 30 (2:25 p.m.)
Long December. But the Broncos must be ecstatic with the 25th-toughest schedule and late bye week. Final record: extremely subject to change.
Prediction: Broncos 18, Chargers 17 (Record: 8-8)