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MVPs, Pro Bowlers and many dangerous playmakers: Highlighting the quarterbacks on the Broncos' 2023 schedule


There's no shortage of star power on the Broncos' 2023 schedule, and that's especially the case at quarterback.

During the upcoming season, the Broncos will face two former league MVPs who have earned that honor six total times, eight quarterbacks with 29 total Pro Bowl selections and several other players who have impressive bona fides to their name.

Here, then, is a look at the expected starting quarterbacks for each of the Broncos' opponents this season:

Week 1 vs. Raiders and Week 18 at Las Vegas: Jimmy Garoppolo

For the first time in a decade, the Raiders will begin their season with a new starting quarterback. After parting ways with Derek Carr, Las Vegas signed Garoppolo, who played his six previous seasons for the 49ers. In San Francisco, Garoppolo was largely successful; he completed 67.6 percent of his passes for 13,599 yards, 82 touchdowns and 42 interceptions, and he helped lead the 49ers to one Super Bowl and two conference championship games.

Week 2 vs. Commanders: Sam Howell or Jacoby Brissett

Commanders head coach Ron Rivera said that there's a competition for the starting quarterback job; though Howell began the offseason as "QB1," the veteran Brissett has also "shown us some things that have really caught people's attention," Rivera said. Howell, a former fifth-round pick, appeared in one game for Washington in 2022 and completed 57.9 percent of his passes with one passing touchdown, one rushing touchdown and one interception against Dallas. Brissett, meanwhile, has started 48 games in 76 career appearances with 48 touchdowns to 23 interceptions. In 2022, he started 11 games for Cleveland and threw 12 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Week 3 at Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa

While Tagovailoa had his most successful season as a pro in 2022, he unfortunately dealt with more serious concussion concerns throughout the year. He returns in 2023 hoping to avoid that and hoping to continue the growth he showed on the field. That included leading the league in passer rating (105.5) and yards per pass attempt (8.9). With star wideouts Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle capable of taking any play the distance, Tagovailoa is a dangerous playmaker in Miami's offense.

Week 4 at Bears: Justin Fields

The former 11th-overall pick turned in an impressive season in 2022 that earned him MVP votes in spite of the Bears' 3-14 record. Fields is only the second quarterback to rush for more than 1,100 yards in a season, joined only by Lamar Jackson's 2019 MVP season. He also threw for 2,242 yards, 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, and he added eight touchdowns on the ground.

Week 5 vs. Jets: Aaron Rodgers

After being traded from Green Bay to New York in the offseason, the four-time MVP will face off with the Broncos for just the fourth time in his career. Typically there's been an adjustment period for star quarterbacks in new homes, but Rodgers could find his footing quickly as he reunites with his former offensive coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett, who coached the Broncos a year ago. With a receiving corps that includes Garrett Wilson and Allen Lazard, Rodgers has weapons at his disposal, but it should be a great matchup with Pat Surtain II and Denver's defense.

Week 6 at Chiefs and Week 8 vs. Kansas City: Patrick Mahomes

In his sixth NFL season, Mahomes continued to add to his growing NFL legacy. He won his second Super Bowl, his second league MVP and set new personal records for passing totals (5,250 yards, 67.1 completion percentage). The Broncos played him and the Chiefs well in 2021, falling by a total of nine points in their two matchups, but they're still looking to topple their division foe for the first time since 2015.

Week 7 vs. Packers: Jordan Love

After the Packers parted ways with Rodgers, it's now time to see what Love has in store for the franchise after being selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Since entering the league, Love has played sparingly — just one start and 10 games over the past two seasons —with three touchdowns and three interceptions to his name. With consistent playing time for him, Green Bay hopes they can make a successful step forward in their glowing history of quarterback play.

Week 10 at Bills: Josh Allen

The cover athlete for Madden NFL 24 is, simply put, one of the most electric quarterbacks right now and in NFL history. Allen is the only NFL player who has ever recorded multiple seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards and more than 700 rushing yards, according to Pro Football Reference — and he's completed that feat in each of the past two seasons. He accounted for 42 total touchdowns in 2022 (35 passing and seven rushing) as he finished third in MVP voting.

Week 11 vs. Vikings: Kirk Cousins

The four-time Pro Bowler led the Vikings to its best regular-season record since 2017 and completed an incredible eight game-winning drives — tied for the most ever, according to Pro Football Reference. With 2022 Offensive Player of the Year Justin Jefferson and 23rd-overall pick Jordan Addison in the Minnesota receiving corps, Cousins should continue to be a dangerous passer.

Week 12 vs. Browns: Deshaun Watson

After an 11-game suspension to start the 2022 season, Watson appeared in his first games since the 2020 season. The new Cleveland quarterback completed 58.2 percent of his passes for 1,102 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions in six starts.

Week 13 at Texans: C.J. Stroud

While the Texans have not committed to a starter just yet, it seems likely that the second-overall pick will take the reins as a rookie and look to lead Houston back to contention. The former two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year threw for 3,688 yards and 41 touchdowns in his final collegiate season, and reports out of Houston indicate that he impressed coaches during the offseason program. Houston also has veteran options in former Broncos starter Case Keenum and 2022 Texans starter Davis Mills.

Week 14 at Chargers and Week 17 vs. Los Angeles: Justin Herbert

Herbert continued to grow in his third NFL season, even if his statistics didn't show strides from his first two years in the league. The former sixth-overall pick led the Chargers to the playoffs for the first time in his career, and he led five game-winning drives as he threw for 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in his 17 starts. He also was second in the league in passing yards with 4,739.

Week 15 at Lions: Jared Goff

In his second season in Detroit, Goff returned to the level of play that made him the first-overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He led the Lions to their first winning season since 2017 and earned his first Pro Bowl selection since 2018 in the process. Goff had once of his finest seasons as a pro with 4,438 passing yards (sixth in the NFL), 29 passing touchdowns (tied for fifth) and a passer rating of 99.3 (seventh).

Week 16 vs. Patriots: Mac Jones

After a solid rookie campaign that earned him a Pro Bowl selection, Jones struggled a bit in Year 2 with 14 touchdowns to 11 interceptions in 14 starts. But the Patriots have since made adjustments to their coaching staff, hiring former Texans head coach Bill O'Brien to be their offensive coordinator. With a new offense, the hope is that the former 15th-overall pick will make strides back toward his 2021 play and grow further.

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