NFL schedule release day. For most NFL fans, it is a pleasant reminder of better things to come. The so called slate is wiped clean. Most of us, like myself, appreciate late winter, spring, and summer sports. The NHL is great, the NBA playoffs are magical, and MLB, although unnecessarily long and arduous at times, still brings a level of historical significance with it. No question, they all have a certain level of importance and bring a nice balance to our sports watching lives.
Having said that, nothing compares to our beloved NFL. For most NFL fans, schedule release day is bigger than Christmas. If you are a fan of the Denver Broncos, Santa was especially good to you this year.
The Broncos overall opponent winning percentage of .430 makes it by far the lowest of all 32 teams. The AFC West, with a winning percentage of .407 last year, is a large contributor to the Broncos’ overall percentage. Conversely, the Carolina Panthers are number 1 with a .542 opponent winning percentage. Funny, I had heard a rumor that the Grinch was a fan of the warm North Carolina weather…
Denver will also have its share of high profile games. The Broncos will kick off the 2013 season with a Thursday night rematch of last year’s second round playoff game. The Ravens, sans Ray Lewis, will begin their defense of the Lombardi trophy a mile up in the Rockies. In addition, the Broncos will play the Raiders (Sep 23), the Colts (Oct 20), the Patriots (Nov 24), and the Chargers (Dec 12) in prime time match-ups. There is also a potential to get a 6th game between weeks 11 and 17 with a flex scheduling option.
Ranking the top 5 games on Denver’s schedule: (full schedule here)
September 5: Baltimore Ravens (Home). Revenge will be prevalent in the mighty thin air.
October 20th: Indianapolis Colts (Away). Manning goes back to the team and organization that let him go. Andrew Luck may want to bring some scratch paper and take notes. Peyton will feel like he has something to prove in this one.
December 1st: Kansas City Chiefs (Away).The Chiefs you say? Denver rarely plays well in KC. Give the Chiefs Andy Reid, a respectable QB in Alex Smith, a number one draft pick, and 6 returning pro bowlers and we have a different story and game.
September 15th: New York Giants (Away). Think Tom Coughlin is happy about missing the playoffs last year? Throw in a nice sibling/future Hall of Fame QB rivalry and you’ve got a nice storyline.
November 24th. New England Patriots (Away). Although Tom Brady has the head-to-head advantage on Peyton at 9-4, something tells me having his former #1 receiver sporting orange and blue on the opposite sideline may level the playing field somewhat. Should be a good preview for a potential AFC championship matchup.
Ho Ho Ho Bronco fans! Enjoy your gift from the jolly old fat man!
BY AARON BRATKA ON APRIL 19, 2013