As the opening week of the 2013 NFL Football season nears its completion and being as the Broncos have already emerged victorious, there’s nothing left to look at except the upcoming schedule. Now I’ve already stated that Peyton Manning will throw as many Touchdown passes as he wants to this season, but I hardly think he will get 7 each week. That would be an out of sight record 112 TD’s. That is a little steep for a 37-year old Quarterback two seasons removed from multiple surgeries on his neck. The 2013 Denver Broncos have a good team that has yet to hit full stride and there are at least 14 more obstacles, okay 12 if you count the two games against the Raiders, in their way towards the postseason. Here are my thoughts on the schedule after the opening week.
Week 2 at New York Giants
The Giants lost to division rivals the Dallas Cowboys in a game marred by many mistakes by the G-men. Eli Manning had trouble with rookie Running Back Da’Rel Scott after David Wilson fumbled twice and was benched as a result. Manning threw 4 TD’s and 3 picks as the Giants simply ran out of time. They did move the ball virtually at will against the Cowboys though. Injuries have slowed them down and the Broncos should have an edge on them because of it. It appears that the Broncos are a little more on track as far as coming together as a team than the Giants are. New York has started the season slow and generally finished well, so the Broncos may catch an early break. Still, I look for the G-men to bounce back from a tough Sunday night game and not be generous hosts next week.
Week 3 & 17 vs. Oakland Raiders
The Raiders finally decided who their starting Quarterback would be, but that didn’t help them against the Colts yesterday, as Oakland fell to Indy 17-21.. Head coach Dennis Allen gave 3rd year man Terrelle Pryor the nod. Pryor went 19 of 29 for 217 yards and one TD, but threw two critical Interceptions in the red zone.
He took a 16-yard sack with 68 seconds left after Oakland had reached the Colts 8-yard line and were threatening to score the game winner. Two plays later, Antoine Bethea Intercepted Terrelle at the Colts 4 to seal Indy’s victory. Pryor had a nice day running the ball, rushing 13 times for 112 yards and breaking Rich Gannon’s old record (85 yards) that had stood since October of 2000.
Darren McFadden ran for 48 yards and a Touchdown on 17 carries. He also caught 3 passes for 18 yards. Rod Streater and Denarius Moore each caught 5 balls, Streater for 70 yards and Moore for 48 yards and a TD.
Oakland’s Defense Sacked Andrew Luck 4 times and held the Colts to 127 yards on the ground, but the Indy Offense went 6/10 (60%) on 3rd downs. Pryor’s 2 Interceptions were the difference in this one. Other than that, the Raider Quarterback moved the ball on the Colts.
Week 5 at Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys beat the Giants last night. I was impressed with Defensive End DeMarcus Ware, Left Tackle Tyron Smith, ILB Bruce Carter and Jason Witten. Ware seems to have made the adjustment from a 3-4 OLB to a 4-3 DE seamlessly. Smith showed his athleticism often last night, leading blocking for RB DeMarco Murray. Carter showed terrific quickness getting in the backfield to Sack Eli Manning and Witten has bounced back from nagging injuries the past few seasons and looks in top form. The Broncos won’t travel to Jerry’s World for another month and a lot can happen before then, but Dallas has shown some resilience and should be a formidable opponent.
Week 6 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Let’s face it, the Jaguars just aren’t that good. They are in a full-on re-building mode with a new coach and GM. Shad Khan is going into his second year as owner and is just beginning to get his franchise going in the right direction. They are coming off a 2-14 season a year ago and probably won’t be that much of a challenge for the Broncos. I’m not bad mouthing the Jags, they have some good young players and are building a good core. It’s just that they are a couple more drafts away from getting back to a .500 team, in my opinion.
Week 7 at Indianapolis Colts
When the Broncos travel to Lucas Oil Field in late October, it will be a homecoming of sorts for Peyton Manning and a high profile match up. The league will over hype this contest, but it will be just another game for Denver. Manning will be well received and there will be plenty of Orange and Blue as well as Blue and White jersey’s with #18 on them. It should be a fun game to watch as young gun Andrew Luck could actually be the next Peyton Manning.
Week 11 & 13 vs. Kansas City Chiefs
I don’t want to look too far ahead, but the Chiefs might be the most improved team in the AFC West. Sure they just trounced the Jacksonville Jaguars into submission, but the Jags aren’t pushovers either. Every team in the NFL is good and on “Any Given Sunday,” an underdog can surprise. New QB Alex Smith is better than any Quarterback the Chiefs have had in years and that will be a big difference-maker for Kansas City this season, not to mention the Elephant, er Walrus in the room. Andy Reid has brought some much needed stability to this floundering franchise and they won’t be the same team that the Broncos beat 38-3 and 17-9 in 2012.
Week 12 at New England Patriots
Manning has Welker and Brady has Amendola. By Week 12, TE weapon Rob Gronkowski will be back (no pun intended) and the Patriots should be their usual threat to win it all. A veritable shootout is in store for all who watch this contest.
Week 14 vs. Tennessee Titans
The Titans are a new team under head coach Mike Munchak. They are much improved over the offseason and he has instilled a fire and work ethic in his team that could take Tennessee to the playoffs this season. Gone is QB Matt Hasselbeck and young Jake Locker has made this his team. Chris Johnson returns after a subpar 2012 with something to prove. At least that’s what he says. Johnson has brashly claimed that he could break Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record and will rush for more yards than Adrian Peterson in 2013. Well, we’ll see about that. Johnson could only scratch for a meager 70 yards on 25 carries against a weakened Steeler Defense yesterday and the Titans only play Jacksonville once this year. If I were a betting man, I’d put money against CJ backing up his statement.
Week 4 vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Week 8 vs. Washington Redskins
Week 9 BYE
Week 10 & 15 at San Diego Chargers
Week 16 at Houston Texans
These four teams play their opening games this evening and the Bye speaks for itself. Those are my Week 1 afterthoughts on the Broncos upcoming schedule.
– Kaptain Kirk