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Mile High Morning: Where does the Broncos' matchup vs. Brady, Gronk and the Bucs rank among Denver's 2020 slate?


The Lead

First there was the Tampa-2 defense; now there's the Tompa-2 offense.

The Buccaneers will reunite Tom Brady with his most trusted Patriots target, as they acquired formerly retired tight end Rob Gronkowski on Tuesday in a trade with the Patriots.

Combined with Pro Bowl wide receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans and with offensive maestro Bruce Arians as Tampa Bay's head coach, Brady and Gronkowski have a chance to form one of the NFL's most powerful offenses in 2020.

As if adding Tom Brady wasn't enough to move the needle before, the Broncos' game against the Buccaneers this fall must be one of the most highly anticipated games of the upcoming season.

With that in mind, here are my five favorite matchups this season (subject to change after the draft and after the schedule comes out in early May, of course):

  1. vs. Kansas City: As great as that matchup with Tampa will be, c'mon. This is a rivalry game against the defending Super Bowl champions. The Broncos haven't beaten them since 2015, so nothing would be better than taking them down.
  2. vs. Tampa Bay: Von Miller going against Tom Brady & Co. once again — 'nuff said.
  3. vs. New Orleans: The last time the Broncos faced the Saints, they delivered one of the most exciting fourth-quarter finishes in franchise history. Who knows if this game will be as exciting as that one, but you can't tell me that you're not dying to see if Drew Lock can keep pace with or outduel Drew Brees. Also, this will be the Broncos' first time facing Emmanuel Sanders after they traded him in October.
  4. at Los Angeles Chargers: This rivalry game will naturally be headlined by Chris Harris Jr. facing off against his old team and Melvin Gordon III doing likewise. In addition, this will be the Bolts' first game against the Broncos at SoFi Stadium. In recent years, the Chargers' homes in San Diego and Los Angeles have proven friendly to the Broncos even as a rival to the home team. Will this continue in their new home?
  5. vs. Buffalo: I'm still not completely on the Josh Allen train, but, man, they've got a formidable team that should contend among the AFC's best. Devin Singletary was an electric runner in 2019, and now they've got Stefon Diggs alongside John Brown as Allen's top two wideouts. And their defense should be solid once again.

Below the Fold

We hate the Raiders here, don't we folks? Of course we do. But this story about how the Raiders came to draft kicker Sebastian Janikowski in the first round of the 2000 NFL Draft is a great retelling of a draft decision that may never happen again.

Speaking of the draft, Ryan O’Halloran of The Denver Post expects the Broncos to focus heavily on the defensive side of the ball. "The Broncos absolutely need to score more points and surround quarterback Drew Lock with the right talent," O'Halloran wrote. "But they also need to have one eye on the '21 defense and getting the reinforcements trained and coached up this year."

As it turns out, "Peyton's Places" may extend beyond just the celebration of the NFL's 100th season. During an ESPN interview, Peyton Manning said they're aiming to do a second season "when things get back to normal."

The Unclassifieds

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