The Broncos, despite finishing 5-11 and falling into last place in the AFC West last season, are giving coach Vic Fangio a chance to redeem himself in 2021. Denver hasn’t made the playoffs since 2015 — the season which ended with the team winning Super Bowl 50.
John Elway hired a GM, George Paton. But the Broncos, much to everyone’s surprise, didn’t go all in trying to replace third-year second-rounder Drew Lock at quarterback, settling to bring Teddy Bridgewater in the mix (for now). While the offense is hoping to perform better with the many talented pieces it already has around the QB, the defense continues its rebuild for Fangio.
Here is a complete breakdown of the Broncos’ 2021 schedule, including dates, start times and analysis.
Denver Broncos schedule 2021
|1||Sept. 12||at Giants||4:25 p.m. ET||Fox|
|2||Sept. 19||at Jaguars||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|3||Sept. 26||vs. Jets||4:05 p.m. ET||CBS|
|4||Oct. 3||vs. Ravens||4:25 p.m. ET||CBS|
|5||Oct. 10||at Steelers||1 p.m. ET||Fox|
|6||Oct. 17||vs. Raiders||4:25 p.m. ET||CBS|
|7||Oct. 21||at Browns||8:20 p.m. ET||Fox/NFLN/Amazon|
|8||Oct. 31||vs. Washington||4:25 p.m. ET||Fox|
|9||Nov. 7||at Cowboys||1 p.m. ET||Fox|
|10||Nov. 14||vs. Eagles||4:25 p.m. ET||CBS|
|12||Nov. 28||vs. Chargers||4:05 p.m. ET||CBS|
|13||Dec. 5||at Chiefs||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|14||Dec. 12||vs. Lions||4:05 p.m. ET||Fox|
|15||Dec. 19||vs. Bengals||4:05 p.m. ET||CBS|
|16||Dec. 26||at Raiders||4:25 p.m. ET||CBS|
|17||Jan. 2||at Chargers||4:05 p.m. ET||CBS|
|18||Jan. 9||vs. Chiefs||4:25 p.m. ET||CBS|
The Broncos looked up to everyone in the division last season. The Chiefs are still daunting and the Chargers have some worthy buzz. Las Vegas provides the slight opening for Denver to get out of the cellar.
Outside of the AFC West six games, the Broncos join those rivals in also playing all of the AFC North and NFC East. The Jaguars and Jets are the extra last-place games in the AFC. The depleted Lions are a helpful simliar reprieve as the 17th opponent, from the NFC North.
Broncos strength of schedule
The Broncos, on paper, have the sixth easiest schedule in the NFL, tied with the Dolphins. Denver’s opponents combined to go 127-143-2 last season, or a .471 winning percentage. A lot of that comes from Jacksonville, the two New York teams and Detroit.
Despite that, the Broncos still face returning playoff teams in six of their 17 games.
Toughest tests: The Broncos’ road schedule is brutal with trips to Cleveland and Pittsburgh offsetting a date in Jacksonville. They also have to play in Dallas and go to the Giants.
It’s a little different at home, where the Chiefs, Ravens and Washington represent the Broncos’ three toughest games out of nine total.
Biggest breaks: The Broncos get the “earned” breaks of the Jaguars, Jets and Lions, three teams in simliar situations. There also are the Bengals, Eagles and Raiders coming to Denver.
Bottom line: The Broncos are a mixed bag with offensive limitations and defensive overhauling. Fangio needs to win now after being saved despite his team’s dismal performance in 2020.
If the QB situation changes dramatically, then it would be OK to consider the Broncos doing a complete 180 into contention. But in the current state, there’s little from Lock’s or Bridgewater’s recent play that inspires.
Record prediction: 6-11