ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Broncos’ history suggests they should rebound like Dennis Rodman. They have not suffered three consecutive losing seasons since the dusty ol’ Cowtown years of 1963-1972. With their third coach (Vic Fangio) and fifth starting quarterback (Joe Flacco) in four years, the Broncos remain optimistic about executing a U-turn.
The climb back to relevance starts with an opening match-up against the (still for one more year) Oakland Raiders on Monday night and finishes with Denver hosting Oakland in the season finale. The Broncos fell at Oakland last season, a debacle that accelerated coach Vance Joseph’s dismissal and the decision to move on from quarterback Case Keenum. New Raiders linebacker Brandon Marshall smiled when he learned of the Sept. 9 game.
“Can’t wait! (Bart Scott voice),” Marshall texted Denver7 on Wednesday.
A Fangio family and friends reunion follows in Week 2 as the Broncos host the Bears. Fangio turned the Bears into the NFL’s top-ranked defense last season before accepting his first head coaching job with Denver. The Broncos finished 3-5 at home a year ago. Anything shy of five wins will prevent Denver’s first return to the playoffs since winning Super Bowl 50.
History beckons in Week 3. The Broncos travel to Green Bay for a critical early-season match-up. The Broncos have never won at Green Bay in six meetings, but did topple the Packers in Super Bowl XXXII.
“I just didn’t want Green Bay later in the season,” joked All-Pro linebacker Von Miller of avoiding the cold.
A marquee match-up that could determine if the Broncos’ makeover features a solid foundation arrives in Week 7. The Broncos host the Chiefs on Thursday night. The Chiefs and NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes swept the Broncos last season.
The Broncos receive a favorable bye in Week 10. It offers a welcome break given injuries and the rigors of the season. However, it represents a lengthy wait for a team that will begin training camp roughly on July 18.
The schedule then becomes a potential dreamcrusher. The Broncos follow the rest with four of their next five games on the road sandwiched around a Week 13 home date against the Chargers. It includes a match-up in Minnesota vs. old friend and Vikings assistant Gary Kubiak. Denver finishes at Broncos Stadium at Mile High with the Lions, and the the return of running back C.J. Anderson, and the Raiders.
BRONCOS 2019 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
Week 1 Sept. 9 Broncos at Raiders (Monday Night Football), 8:20 p.m., ESPN
Week 2 Sept. 15 Bears at Broncos, 2:25 p.m., FOX
Week 3 Sept. 22 Broncos at Packers, 11 a.m., FOX
Week 4 Sept. 29 Jaguars at Broncos, 2:25 p.m., CBS
Week 5 Oct. 6 Broncos at Chargers, 2:05 p.m., CBS
Week 6 Oct. 13 Titans at Broncos, 2:25 p.m., CBS
Week 7 Oct. 17 Chiefs at Broncos (Thursday Night Football), 6:20 p.m., FOX/NFLN
Week 8 Oct. 27 Broncos at Colts, 2:25 p.m., CBS
Week 9 Nov. 3 Browns at Broncos, 2:25 p.m., CBS
Week 10 Bye
Week 11Nov. 17 Broncos at Vikings, 11 a.m., CBS
Week 12 Nov. 24 Broncos at Bills, 11 a.m., CBS
Week 13 Dec. 1 Chargers at Broncos, 2:25 p.m., CBS
Week 14 Dec. 8 Broncos at Texans, 11 a.m., CBS
Week 15 Dec. 15 Broncos at Chiefs, 11 a.m., CBS
Week 16 Dec. 21 or 22 Lions at Broncos, TBD
Week 17 Dec. 29 Raiders at Broncos, 2:25 p.m., CBS
BRONCOS 2019 PRESEASON SCHEDULE
Vs. Falcons, Aug. 1, 6 p.m.
At Seahawks, Aug 8-12 (date TBA)
Vs. 49ers, Aug. 18, 6 p.m.
At Rams, Aug. 22-25 (date TBA)
Vs. Cardinals, Aug. 29