Denver Broncos release 2017 schedule

Four of the first five Broncos games are at home. Coupled with playing at home in the final two games of their preseason schedule, the Broncos better hope home is sweet. The team will be physically in Denver from Aug. 20, the day after it spends a week practicing and playing against the John Lynch-Kyle Shanahan San Francisco 49ers, until Sept. 23, when it travels for its first regular-season road game at Buffalo.

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Regular season

1.  Monday, Sept. 11, LOS ANGELES CHARGERS, 8:20 p.m.
All that extra tailgating should put Bronco fans in good spirits as they welcome their good friend, Philip Rivers.

2.  Sunday, Sept. 17, DALLAS COWBOYS, 2:25 p.m.

Tony Romo will not be calling this game for CBS, as the game is televised by FOX, but Denver’s new defensive coordinator Joe Woods will be tested by Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Dez Bryant.

3.  Sunday, Sept. 24, at Buffalo Bills, 11 a.m.

Figures to be more enjoyable playing Buffalo in September than December. Denver D should know how to stop the Bills’ offense, whose offensive coordinator is Rick Dennison.

4.  Sunday, Oct. 1, OAKLAND RAIDERS, 2:25 p.m.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is healthy after a broken leg forced him to miss the Raiders’ final game loss in Denver last season.

5.  Sunday, Oct. 8, BYE

The challenge will be to stay healthy for the final stretch of 12 games in 12 weeks.

6.  Sunday, Oct. 15, NEW YORK GIANTS, 6:30 p.m

Got to think Peyton Manning will drop by to watch his brother Eli Manning quarterback the Giants, who won 11 games last year.

7.  Sunday, Oct. 22 at Los Angeles Chargers

Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy won’t return to where he was head coach the previous four seasons as the Chargers have moved from San Diego to a temporary, 30,000-seat stadium in Los Angeles.

8.  Monday, Oct. 30, at Kansas City Chiefs, 6:30 p.m.

Arrowhead Stadium and the Chiefs can be a scary mix on Halloween Eve. Broncos must find an answer to Tyreek Hill this year.

9.  Sunday, Nov. 5 at Philadelphia Eagles, 11 a.m.

Third consecutive road game, on short week, with early start. A difficult task even if Carson Wentz experiences a sophomore slump.

10.  Sunday, Nov. 12, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, 6:30 p.m.

Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champs have been a team since 2000. This will be their 19th game against the Broncos in those 18 seasons. The teams are 9-9 in that stretch.

11.  Sunday, Nov. 19, CINCINNATI BENGALS, 2:25 p.m.

New Broncos defensive tackle Domata Peko played his first 11 seasons with the Bengals.

12. Sunday, Nov. 26 at Oakland Raiders, 2:25 p.m.

The Black Hole is on the three-year, lame-duck plan before the Raiders move to Las Vegas. The Broncos probably won’t feel overly nostalgic playing in the antiquated Oakland-Alameda Coliseum.

13. Sunday, Dec. 3, at Miami Dolphins, 11 a.m.

Joseph spent last season as the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator where the Broncos hope he got a good read on Adam Gase’s offense.

14. Sunday, Dec. 10, NEW YORK JETS, 2:05 p.m.

Sandwiched by four road games, the Broncos must take care of business at home against the ever-struggling Jets.

15. Thursday, Dec. 14, at Indianapolis Colts, 6:25 p.m.

The Broncos have the No. 1 toughest schedule based on 2016 records. The Colts have the 32nd toughest. If Andrew Luck is healthy, the Broncos know the Colts will be tough at home.

16. Sunday, Dec. 24 at Washington, 11 a.m.

Christmas Eve in our nation’s capital. Between Luck ($27 million) and Washington’s Kirk Cousins ($23.94 million), the Broncos will play back-to-back against the NFL’s two highest-paid offensive players in terms of 2017 money, a combined $50.94 million worth of quarterbacks.

17. Sunday, Dec. 31, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS, 2:05 p.m.

The first modest goal for the 2017 Broncos would be for this game to matter to their playoff hopes.

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