ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — For the first time since 2003 and just the third time since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, the Broncos will play their first two games of the season on the road.
The NFL announced the 2021 schedule on Wednesday, and the Broncos are slated to open their season on Sunday, Sept. 12 against the New York Giants at 2:25 p.m. MT on FOX. The Broncos will then face the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road in Week 2 on Sunday, Sept. 19 at 11 a.m. MT on CBS.
Denver had opened its season at home in nine of the last 10 seasons, and they’ve won 10 of their last 14 opening games. The Broncos’ .648 Week 1 winning percentage is tied with the Cowboys for the best mark in the league.
The Broncos could have a chance to get off to a fast start against the Giants, Jaguars and New York Jets, whom the Broncos will host in their home opener in Week 3. The three teams combined to go 9-39 in 2020, and the Jaguars and Jets made the first two selections in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Jacksonville selected Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the first-overall pick, while New York took BYU’s Zach Wilson with the second-overall selection. Broncos Head Coach Vic Fangio has fared well vs. rookie quarterbacks in his career, as he’s won 18 of 27 matchups vs. first-year signal callers. Denver went 2-1 against rookie quarterbacks in 2020.
The Broncos will open their season on a Sunday for just the second time in the last five years, as Denver had been featured in a “Monday Night Football” double-header in 2017, 2019 and 2020. The Broncos will not appear on “Monday Night Football” in 2021 — which snaps an NFL-long 29-year streak with at least one appearance on the program — and they are currently slated to play just one prime-time game.
Denver’s lone scheduled prime-time game is a Week 7 road game on “Thursday Night Football” against the Cleveland Browns. The Broncos have won 11 of their last 14 games played on Thursdays and are 9-5 on “Thursday Night Football.”
It is possible the Broncos could add another prime-time game to their schedule. Beginning in Week 5, the NFL reserves the right to flex games on Sunday afternoon to “Sunday Night Football.” In Week 18, the NFL may also flex a pair of games to Saturday, Jan. 8.
The Browns are one of five playoff teams the Broncos will face in 2021. Denver will face the Ravens, Steelers, Browns and Washington Football Team in a five-week stretch from Weeks 4-8. After the Broncos’ bye week, which comes in Week 11, Denver will have a pair of tests against the Chiefs in Weeks 13 and 18.
Denver’s Week 18 home game against the Chiefs will cap a late run of division opponents; The Broncos will play five of their six divisional games over the final seven weeks of the 2021 slate. Denver hosts the Chargers in Week 12 before traveling to Kansas City in Week 13. The Broncos then finish the year with road games against the Raiders and Chargers in Weeks 16 and 17, respectively, before hosting the Chiefs to close the regular season. Denver’s home matchup with the Raiders will be played in Week 6.
In addition to their division opponents, the Broncos will face off against the NFC East, AFC North and the fourth-place finishers in the AFC South (Jaguars) , AFC East (Jets) and NFC North (Lions).
After playing the Giants in Week 1, Denver will face the Washington Football Team in Week 8, travel to play the Cowboys in Week 9 and host the Eagles in Week 10 to cap their NFC East slate. Three of the team’s four matchups against the AFC North will come before the Week 11 bye, as they host the Ravens (Week 4), go on the road to Pittsburgh (Week 5) and face the Browns on Thursday night in Week 7. They’ll host the Bengals in Week 15 to complete their AFC North matchups.
Denver will host the Lions, who were added to the slate when the NFL voted to implement its first 17-game schedule, in Week 14.
The dates for the Broncos’ preseason slate are not yet finalized, but Denver will travel to play the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks before hosting the Los Angeles Rams to end the preseason. Teams will play just three preseason games following the shift to a 17-game regular-season schedule.
Week 1: Broncos at Minnesota Vikings
Week 2: Broncos at Seattle Seahawks
Week 3: Broncos vs. Los Angeles Rams
Week 1: Broncos at New York Giants (Sunday, Sept. 12, 2:25 p.m. MT, FOX)
Week 2: Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars (Sunday, Sept. 19, 11 a.m. MT, CBS)
Week 3: Broncos vs. New York Jets (Sunday, Sept. 26, 2:05 p.m. MT, CBS)
Week 4: Broncos vs. Baltimore Ravens (Sunday, Oct. 3, 2:25 p.m. MT, CBS)
Week 5: Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday, Oct. 10, 11 a.m. MT, FOX)
Week 6: Broncos vs. Las Vegas Raiders (Sunday, Oct. 17, 2:25 p.m. MT, CBS)
Week 7: Broncos at Cleveland Browns (Thursday, Oct. 21, 6:20 p.m. MT, FOX/NFL Network/Amazon)
Week 8: Broncos vs. Washington Football Team (Sunday, Oct. 31, 2:25 p.m. MT, FOX)
Week 9: Broncos at Dallas Cowboys (Sunday, Nov. 7, 11 a.m. MT, FOX)
Week 10: Broncos vs. Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday, Nov. 14, 2:25 p.m. MT, CBS)
Week 11: BYE WEEK
Week 12: Broncos vs. Los Angeles Chargers (Sunday, Nov. 28, 2:05 p.m. MT, CBS)
Week 13: Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday, Dec. 5, 11 a.m. MT, CBS)
Week 14: Broncos vs. Detroit Lions (Sunday, Dec. 12, 2:05 p.m. MT, FOX)
Week 15: Broncos vs. Cincinnati Bengals (Sunday, Dec. 19, 2:05 p.m. MT, CBS)
Week 16: Broncos at Las Vegas Raiders (Sunday, Dec. 26, 2:25 p.m. MT, CBS)
Week 17: Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers (Sunday, Jan. 2, 2:05 p.m. MT, CBS)
Week 18: Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday, Jan. 9, 2:25 p.m. MT, CBS)