This story originally appeared in Mile High Sports Magazine. Read the full digital edition.

While the NBA and NHL playoffs were happening on a Thursday night in late April, the NFL managed to do it again.

It hijacked the attention of the sports world. And it wasn’t even with a game.

No, the NFL simply revealed when and where those games will be played this upcoming season. The NFL schedule release has officially become big news.

Here in Denver, it helped Broncos fans lay out the roadmap of how the team could return to its third Super Bowl in five years next February.

After a disappointing 2016, finishing 9-7, Denver’s defense is too good to miss the playoffs again. Here’s how the 16 games set up, the storyline and an early prediction. 

Week 1
Monday, Sept. 11
vs. Los Angeles Chargers
8:20 p.m. ESPN

Storyline: It’s one of the biggest gimmes on the slate

Prediction: Win, 24-13 

Week 2
Sunday, Sept. 17
vs. Dallas Cowboys
2:25 p.m. FOX

Storyline: Denver’s improved (?) run defense gets tested early

Prediction: Win, 21-20 

Week 3
Sunday, Sept. 24
@ Buffalo Bills
11:00 a.m. CBS

Storyline: If you’re a playoff team, you find a way against Buffalo

Prediction: Win, 28-10 

Week 4
Sunday, Oct. 1
vs. Oakland Raiders
2:25 p.m. CBS

Storyline: Early AFC West title implications already on the line

Prediction: Win, 17-14 

Week 5

Storyline: It’s an early one this year

Prediction: Lots of rest 

Week 6
Sunday, Oct. 15
vs. New York Giants
6:30 p.m. NBC

Storyline: Facing Eli isn’t quite as juicy without Peyton involved

Prediction: Win, 30-28

Week 7
Sunday, Oct. 22
@ Los Angeles Chargers
2:25 p.m. CBS

Storyline: This game will be played in a soccer stadium, seriously

Prediction: Win, 16-6 

Week 8
Monday, Oct. 30
@ Kansas City Chiefs
6:30 p.m. ESPN

Storyline: It’s Arrowhead, but at least it’s not December

Prediction: Loss, 21-17 

Week 9
Sunday, Nov. 5
@ Philadelphia Eagles
11:00 a.m. CBS

Storyline: Are we sure Philly is actually any good?

Prediction: Win, 24-17 

Week 10
Sunday, Nov. 12
vs. New England Patriots
6:30 p.m. NBC

Storyline: The big bad Pats come to town for what feels like the 93rd straight year

Prediction: Win, 20-19 

Week 11
Sunday, Nov. 19
vs. Cincinnati Bengals
2:25 p.m. CBS

Storyline: Marvin Lewis’ tenure might be over by this point

Prediction: Win, 27-14 

Week 12
Sunday, Nov. 26
@ Oakland Raiders
2:25 p.m. CBS

Storyline: Will anyone show up to games in The Black Hole this year?

Prediction: Loss, 28-10 

Week 13
Sunday, Dec. 3
@ Miami Dolphins
11:00 a.m. CBS

Storyline: Vance Joseph makes his (not really) hugely anticipated return to Miami

Prediction: Win, 23-16 

Week 14
Sunday, Dec. 10
vs. New York Jets
2:05 p.m. CBS

Storyline: If you had to bet your life on one game, this would be it

Prediction: Win, 31-3 

Week 15
Thursday, Dec. 14
@ Indianapolis Colts
6:25 p.m. NBC

Storyline: Short week in a tough place to play – no favors done here

Prediction: Loss, 24-20 

Week 16
Sunday, Dec. 24
@ Washington Redskins
11:00 a.m. CBS

Storyline: Just a little out of gas on the final East Coast swing

Prediction: Loss, 17-13 

Week 17
Sunday, Dec. 31
vs. Kansas City
2:05 p.m. CBS

Storyline: This very well could be for all the AFC West marbles

Prediction: Win, 28-27


Final record: 12-4

Destination: Playoffs

Featured Image Credit: Ryan Greene, 5280 Sports Network