The wait is nearly over for the Broncos' highly awaited season opener against the Seahawks, as Russell Wilson makes his debut in a return to Seattle, where he played the first decade of his career.
To get you ready for the big game, we rounded up score and spread predictions from NFL analysts. As a reminder, Denver is a 6.5-point favorite over the Seahawks.
I expect Wilson's Broncos debut to look something like his final game as a member of the Seahawks at Lumen Field, where he threw for four touchdowns, 236 yards, and completed 68.9% of his passes in Week 17. … When you pair a revitalized Wilson with a Broncos defense that is expected to be among the top units in the league this year, that spells trouble for Geno Smith and the Seahawks.
Projected score: Broncos 33, Seahawks 20
Wilson will have the greater motivation to deliver for Denver and his new teammates. The Broncos make sure there's no doubt about revenge being served.
Projected score: Broncos 27, Seahawks 10
Last season the Broncos lost a lot of close games, and Wilson seems like the missing piece to correct that trend. Denver should get a win as Wilson finds his footing, but he'll have to do it against the one team that knows him better than any other, in perhaps the loudest stadium in the N.F.L.
Pick: Seahawks +6.5
Seattle wants to ruin Wilson's homecoming, but it's hard to see how the Seahawks muster much offense against the Broncos, who boast one of the NFL's top defenses. Wilson will make enough plays on offense for Denver to scratch out a win. The Seahawks were a league-worst 0-5 in games decided by three points or fewer last season.
Projected score: Broncos 24, Seahawks 21
In his first game since the Seattle Seahawks traded him to the Broncos, Wilson goes back to his old stomping grounds to face his former team in the Monday Night Football spotlight. … With little faith in Smith to lead an upset, all of our panelists chose the Broncos with great confidence.
Projected score: Broncos 38, Seahawks 17
I've got the Broncos as a playoff team, and I have the Seahawks finishing in last place in the NFC West. There's nothing I want more than to finish this column by saying simply, "Broncos Country, let's ride." But the truth is I think this is going to be a fun, ugly, weird game, and I'm taking the points.
Pick: Seahawks +6.5