ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —** The Broncos' 2016 schedule, which begins with a Super Bowl rematch against the Carolina Panthers, has drawn a lot of attention as a season full of mouth-watering matchups, and Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway shares the same enthusiasm.
Take a look at the Broncos 2016 schedule and how the team fared the last team they played each opponent.
"I think it's a great schedule for our fans. If you look at the home schedule, there are a lot of great football teams coming in," Elway said Thursday. "The bye week falls well for us—late in the year. We have kind of a semi-bye when we have San Diego on Thursday night (Week 6). We have Houston on the following Monday night, so we have a break there. I think it's a good schedule. The bottom line is you have to play them as they come anyway. It's always nice to have it out though to see what the upcoming year looks like."
The other prime-time games — against Oakland, San Diego, Kansas City and Houston — drew his eye, as well.
Naturally, the Monday-night game against the Texans raises an interest level not only because it's a battle between two AFC playoff teams, but because former Broncos QB Brock Osweiler is expected to be under center for Houston.
"It will be nice to have Brock come back here. They are a good football team. They are going to be a team that's going to compete for the AFC," Elway said. "With Indy coming in, New England coming in, Carolina coming in and Houston coming in—we have a lot of top-notch teams coming in."
The division games are of particular interest because they're all on prime-time television, sure, but with two closing out the season, the AFC West title race could come down to those final matches. And in a unique situation with Christmas falling on a Sunday, the Broncos will be the only NFL game that night when they play the Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium.
"We'll have to celebrate Christmas a little bit early before we go, and once we take off, [we'll] go be ready to play a football game in Kansas City," Elway said. "We've got Kansas City and Oakland the last two games of the year, so I'm sure those things are really going to shape up to see who wins the AFC West."