The Denver Broncos have been a slightly improving team for three years. That’s why there’s some optimism they can have a significant breakthrough with their 2020 NFL schedule.
Last season, the Broncos improved a game to 7-9, after finishing 6-10 in 2018 and 5-11 in 2017. That consistent one-win increase also has seen Denver go from fourth to third to second in the AFC West behind the Chiefs.
There is some momentum from 2019, as the Broncos closed 4-1 following a 3-8 start. They also have a definitive answer at quarterback with second-year second-rounder Drew Lock.
How will Vic Fango, in his second year as head coach, get his team to further improve in 2020?
Here is a complete breakdown of the Denver Broncos’ 2020 schedule, including dates and start times for all 16 games and our early prediction.
Denver Broncos schedule 2020
- Home: Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans
- Away: Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Denver Broncos’ full schedule will be released Thursday at 8 p.m. ET along with the entire 2020 NFL schedule.
(For Canadian viewers, each game can be streamed on DAZN.)
The Broncos face a high baseline of toughness in their six-game AFC West slate. The Chiefs remain the class of the entire NFL as reigning Super Bowl champs, while the Raiders matched the Broncos in finishing 7-9. The last-place Chargers also have a chance to rebound back closer to their 12-4 form.
Outside the division, Denver draws two other divisions going through potential transitions of power in the AFC East and NFC South. Their second-place schedule isn’t your average one, with the AFC runner-up Titans and AFC defense-elite Steelers.
Broncos strength of schedule & prediction
When looking at the Broncos’ opponents combined record in 2019 (131-125, .512), they have the No. 12-toughest schedule in the NFL. When counting the Chiefs twice, the Broncos have 6 of their 16 games (23 percent) against returning playoff teams. They face every AFC playoff team from 2019 except for the Texans and Ravens.
Unfortunately, some of the weaker teams on the Broncos’ schedule are more dangerous and the top teams remain strong. In reality, the Broncos have one of hardest slates, in the top five based on projected win totals.
Toughest tests: The Broncos did load up offensively around Lock to better compete with the Chiefs, but it doesn’t get any tougher than that home-and-away series, given how Patrick Mahomes owns them. The Raiders also have improved and the Chargers can be more daunting defensively.
The Broncos have four brutal interdivision home games, too, in the Bills, Titans, Saints and Buccaneers. The roadblock that stands out is the Steelers with the Patriots being a close second, both because of defense.
Biggest breaks: The Broncos don’t have too many breaks outside the division. They must beat the Dolphins and Jets in AFC play to have any shot of a wild card. They also are capable of going 3-1 or 4-0 combined against the Raiders and the Chargers in what figure to be four close games.
The two non-conference games to balance out New Orleans and Tampa Bay are Atlanta and Carolina. Unfortunately, those Falcons and Panthers games are at the end of long road trips.
Bottom line: The Broncos went crazy trying to help Lock with more help at running back (Melvin Gordon), wide receiver (Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler), tight end. and offensive line.
But Fangio’s defense is getting a little long in the tooth around game-changers such as Von Miller and Justin Simmons. There’s promise the Broncos can turn the corner, but the schedule may delay their playoff contention until 2021.
Record prediction: 8-8