Daily, dozens of denizens of Denver, Colorado Springs and Broncos Country ask me what Our Team’s record will be this season.
During a speech to a well-oiled group the other night, I replied: “I’d like to say the Broncos will do a flip to 11-5 from the flop 5-11, crush the Chargers in the finale to win the division, stomp the Steelers in a playoff game, bamboozle the Patriots in the AFC Championship and rip the Rams in the Super Bowl — avenging three of their regular-season defeats.”
I’d like to say that.
What do others who cover the NFL for CBS, FOX, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, USA Today, NFL.com and five respected national publications, networks and websites say? Their predictions ranged from 9-7 to 4-12 (SI.com.) The consensus record was 7-9. The over-under victory total among Las Vegas oddsmakers is 7½.
Nostra-damn-us all in the media.
Nevertheless, this is my prophecy leading to the opener:
Seahawks at Denver, Sunday – The Legion of Boom and the No-Fly Zone, historically extraordinary, are history. Seattle is rather common, and the Broncos own a 21-5 advantage against the former AFC West team. Keenum beats ‘em, 23-20.
Raiders at Denver, Sept. 16 – The greatest offseason move for the Broncos was the trading of Khalil Mack by the Raiders. And the Broncos got the Raiders’ punter. The Broncos can’t end up 2-4 in the division, as they did in 2016 and 2017. They must win at least four of six. This is one – 35-21.
Broncos at Baltimore, Sept. 23 – The Broncos confronted four 11 a.m. (Denver time) starts last season, and were drubbed in all. They need a wake-up call for Eastern road games, but this is neither the time nor the place. Ravens roll, 28-13.
Chiefs at Denver, Oct. 1 – The first of two Monday night games; the other is in Oakland in the next-to-last game on Christmas Eve. The Broncos have to win this game. Have to. Something you may have forgotten: The Broncos have lost five in a row to K.C. and allowed an average of 30 points a game. Patrick Mahomes won his first start last year in the last game in Denver. Broncos 21-20.
Broncos at New York Jets, Oct. 7 – Sam Darnold was named the Jets’ starting quarterback two days ago. The Jets remain dreadful, but the Broncos were awful in their last appearance in that stadium (Super Bowl). Broncos win, 24-17, to go 4-1.
Rams at Denver, Oct. 14 – The Wade Phillips defense is better; coach Sean McVay is better; the quarterback who succeeded Keenum with the Rams is better, and Stan Kroenke’s franchise is now better than his old friend Pat Bowlen’s franchise. Los Angeles 31-19.
Broncos at Arizona, Oct. 18 – Thursday night game, on the road, four days after playing at home. Sure, the Broncos, using a plethora of players now gone, beat the Cardinals in the fourth exhibition, but this is a real game with first-string players. Broncos fade, 27-24.
Broncos at Kansas City, Oct. 28 – Good news is the Broncos have extra days to prepare, but the Chiefs are coming off an easy game at home against the Bengals. Third loss in a row as the Broncos can’t stop K.C. and the Sunshine Band, 41-20.
Texans at Denver, Nov. 4 – Houston is improved immensely with the return of Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt. Broncos prevail, 30-23.
Bye, Nov. 11. The Broncos are 5-4.
Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers, Nov. 18 – The Broncos won’t be shut out this year in a soccer stadium. Chargers 21-3.
Steelers at Denver, Nov. 25 – Pittsburgh remembers last appearance against the Broncos. No Tebow. Steelers 23-16.
Broncos at Cincinnati, Dec. 2 – Cold, rainy, terrible as Broncos pull off a last-second victory, 20-17.
Broncos at San Francisco, Dec. 9 – Kyle Shanahan might be interested in winning over Vance Joseph, and does, 41-20.
Cleveland at Denver, Dec. 15 – Rare Saturday night game. Baker Mayfield sighting as starter by then. Broncos 32-24.
Broncos at Oakland, Christmas Eve – Both teams trying to win an eighth game. Raiders do, 33-31.
Chargers at Denver, Dec. 30 – In a third straight meaningless final contest for the Broncos, they defeat San Diego, 17-16.
I don’t like to say 8-8.