After the Denver Broncos announced the release of their schedule for the upcoming 2023 season, their path to reclaiming the AFC West crown will be tough once again.

In 2022, the Broncos struggled with a 5-12 overall record and a 1-5 record against AFC West division rivals. However, despite their record against the division, they were competitive in each matchup.

The Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders each swept Denver in both matchups last year while the Broncos split the season series against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Aside free agency additions and NFL Draft picks, the Broncos biggest change coming into this upcoming season is the arrival of Sean Payton as the team’s head coach.

Can Payton help change the narrative surrounding Russell Wilson and help spark a redemption tour next season? That’s the hope.

Denver Broncos vs. the AFC West heats up in 2023

During the first half of the season, the Denver Broncos will play three AFC West divisional games before their Week 9 Bye Week.

Broncos vs. Raiders in 2023
To open up the season, the Broncos will host the Las Vegas Raiders at Empower Field at Mile High. The last time these two teams met, the Raiders upset Denver in a walk-off overtime victory that saw Davante Adams explode against the Broncos secondary.

Patrick Surtain II will get the opportunity at redemption in what could have been an easy primetime choice for the NFL. With the Raiders, there has been plenty of change since both teams last met — with Derek Carr’s departure and Jimmy Garoppolo replacing him under center.

Former Raiders quarterback Jarrett Stidham came over to Denver in the off-season and will back up Russell Wilson. The Broncos also added Mike McGlinchey at right tackle and Ben Powers at left guard to help the offensive line counteract Maxx Crosby, Chandler Jones, and rookie pass rusher Tyree Wilson.

It will also be imperative that they find a way to slow down Raiders’ running back Josh Jacobs who has been a thorn in the side of the Broncos for the past several seasons.

Denver will conclude the 2023 regular season against the Raiders on the road.

Broncos vs. Chargers in 2023
Last season in Week 6, the Broncos lost a heartbreaker in overtime on the road in Los Angeles. They were able to get revenge on the playoff bound Chargers in Week 18 with a 31-28 win.

In 2023, the Broncos will look to control the series this upcoming season. However, the Broncos won’t face the Chargers until Week 14 in Los Angeles and will conclude the season series in Denver in Week 17 on New Years Eve.

With Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert looking to secure a massive contract extension, they’ll also see the return of Mike Williams and Keenan Allen at wide receiver while welcoming rookie draft pick Quentin Johnston into the mix. Aside that, Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack return off the edge and will attempt to get after Russell Wilson.

Regardless Herbert’s talent, the Broncos have always found a way to make things difficult for the former Oregon Ducks star. If the Broncos can find a way to secure the season series against the Chargers this season, that would bode well for them if they are above .500 or in the playoff hunt.

Broncos vs. Chiefs in 2023
Could 2023 be the year that the Denver Broncos snap the Kansas City Chiefs winning streak against them?

That will be a difficult task considering the Chiefs’ status in the AFC West and as defending Super Bowl Champions, but Denver demonstrated in 2022 that they can compete with the juggernauts.

Despite facing a 27-0 deficit in their first game last season, the Broncos stormed back with a furious rally before eventually losing 34-28 at home. In Week 17, Denver maintained a lead for a majority of the game before falling 28-24 at Arrowhead.

If Sean Payton can help turn around the Broncos offense and Wilson this upcoming season, there is a chance Denver can end the Chiefs dominant stretch against them.

What’s interesting about this season’s schedule is that Denver will face Kansas City twice in the span of three weeks. They’ll travel to take on Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce in Week 6 on Thursday Night Football before playing them in Denver two weeks later in Week 8.

It will be important for Denver to take care of business during the first half of their season including the two matchups against the Chiefs because of conference record and divisional tiebreakers being on the line.

The AFC West is always a tough division for any team to face, but for the Denver Broncos, there is no running from it — only embracing the opportunity to get back on track after a disastrous track record since winning Super Bowl 50 in the 2015-2016 NFL season.