The Denver Broncos finished last season 7-9 winning the last four of five games with Drew Lock at quarterback. This was the Denver Broncos best finish since the 2016 season and the first time for real hope looking forward. Holding the 12th strongest strength of schedule, the Broncos have to come out the gates swinging to prove doubters wrong. We will take a look at the Broncos most difficult games on the 2020 schedule and analyze the aspects of each.
Denver Broncos Most Difficult Games in 2020
1. Week 12: vs New Orleans Saints
Denver really got handed the short stick when the NFL matched them up with the NFC South this year. Drew Brees hasn’t fallen off by any means and his tandem of Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara will be hard to stop. The Saints have enough defensive talent to give Drew Lock limited opportunities. This game very well could turn into a shootout between the two gunslinging quarterbacks as well. At this point in the season, both teams could be playing for playoff positioning which would highen the stakes for both.
2. Week 2: at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers finished last season 8-8 with star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missing 14 weeks. He returns to an offense that has a lot to prove with a young receiving core behind JuJu Smith-Schuster. Defensively they are as sound as they come in the AFC conference. Pittsburgh is a favorite in the AFC for a deep playoff run and Denver will find out why right out of the gate. Denver came up winners last time they faced Big Ben in 2018 with a last-second interception by Shelby Harris. Roethlisberger should be back to his old form after having time off to recover and he will be looking for revenge.
3. Week 3: vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It might not be the most difficult games for the Broncos this year but it could be the biggest. Tom Brady makes his return to the Mile High City where he has shown to struggle over the years. The only issue is that this is the best supporting cast Brady has brought with him to Denver. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Rob Gronkowski give Brady premier options to utilize against a Denver defense that struggles with bigger receivers. Denver’s only hope to sneak a win from the GOAT is to have Von Miller and Bradley Chubb live in the backfield all day.
4. Week 13: at Kansas City
There is a good chance that the Denver Broncos could face both 2020 Super Bowl participants in back to back weeks. The week before this matchup the Broncos face NFC favorites the New Orleans Saints. Drew Lock found out last year how hard it is to win in Arrowhead late in the season. Patrick Mahomes should be in MVP form by this point looking to make his return to the postseason. The Chiefs defense also returns most of its Super Bowl starters from last year. For the Broncos to win this game it would have to one of their better performances of the year.
5. Week 1: vs Tennessee Titans
Once the Tennessee Titans made the switch to Ryan Tannehill last season they looked like a completely different team. His playoff success took a lot of people by surprise but the real engine was running back Derrick Henry. This is a completely different team than the one the Broncos faced week 6 in 2019 but so are the Broncos. Both teams are likely to try and keep the game on the ground to keep pressure off their quarterbacks. At that point, it just comes down to containing Derrick Henry and forcing Tannehill to win.
6. Week 9: at Atlanta Falcons
Coming off a bye week the Broncos should be well-rested going into this trip to Atlanta. They are going to need it because the Falcons are going to be loaded on offense barring injury. Todd Gurley signed in the offseason and he should finally be healthy after an extended time off. Matt Ryan is still a top tier quarterback that won’t be afraid to throw into Denver’s improved secondary. Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley can make the best defenses look average if Ryan gets time in the pocket.
7. Week 10: at Las Vegas Raiders
It seemed that both the Raiders and Broncos saw that they can win with their quarterbacks, they just needed weapons. Derek Carr has the best supporting cast he’s had in years. Rookie wide receiver Henry Ruggs is a speed demon that can take it to the house anytime he touches the ball. Josh Jacobs is a true three-down running back that can do it all for this Raiders team. The defensive front seven has the potential to be the best in the NFL with athletes all around.
8. Week 15: vs Buffalo Bills
This game is entirely dependent on how Josh Allen develops for the Bills this season. He crumbled in the 2019 playoffs but he did show flashes of greatness the way there. Adding a star receiver like Stefon Diggs should finally give Allen that go-to guy on big downs. The defense is stout up front with the additions of A.J. Epenesa and Mario Addison to go along with Ed Oliver. For Denver to pull out a victory in this one they should keep the ball on the ground.
Embed from Getty Images