Broncos and Ravens Week 1 Battle Highlights AFC Schedule

AFC scheduleAt first glance, it appears the defending champion Baltimore Ravens have the toughest 2013-14 NFL schedule in the league. They will play the Texans, the Steelers and Bengals twice and then open the season with a game against the Broncos on Thursday night. It will be a rematch of last year’s AFC playoff battle when Baltimore stunned Denver 38-35 and went on to win the Super Bowl.
NFL fans love payback games, and they will receive one right out of the chute. It could produce a nice betting opportunity as the Broncos are currently listed as 7.5-point favorites. If you wager on sports, this is a good way to get your feet wet in another NFL season.
What a Difference a Year Makes
Heading into last season, there were questions galore about whether Peyton Manning could return to his old form after neck surgery. Would his conversion to the Broncos be an easy one? The answers were a resounding “yes.” The Broncos cruised to a 13-3 record, clinched the top-seed in the AFC playoffs, and won the West by a whopping six games.
This year, the Broncos road to an AFC West title is expected to be even easier. San Diego, Oakland and Kansas City, the other teams in the AFC West, do not figure to put up much of a fight. That is why the out of division games will be the only ones worth seeing.
Black and Blue Division
Ray Lewis may have retired, but the rivalry between the Steelers and Ravens lives. Fans can’t get enough of the smash-mouth, physical brand of football these teams play, and they will get their two showdowns per year between the long-time rivals. They meet in Pittsburgh in Week 7, with Baltimore returning the favor in Week 13 on Thanksgiving Day. That same week, it will be a matchup of division winners from a year ago as New England faces Houston. The Texans will be out for revenge after Tom Brady, and the Pats embarrassed them on Monday night football 41-28. After that loss, Houston was never quite the same team.
Best of the Rest
Week 2 features the Cincinnati Bengals, who were a playoff team a year ago, taking on the Steelers who are aiming to return to the postseason after a rare miss.
Week 4 features a must-see clash between the upstart Seattle Seahawks from the NFC facing the AFC South champion Texans. In Week 5, New England travels to Cincinnati. Do not be surprised if the much improved Bengals pull off an upset.
Besides the aforementioned Steelers and Ravens clash, Week 7 will also give us Peyton Manning and the Broncos going up against Manning’s former team, the Indianapolis Colts.
The highlight of the Week 9 schedule is a Sunday showdown between the Steelers and Patriots. This will allow those who wager on the NFL a chance to see which side is a playoff contender or pretender.
There are some other exciting games coming up in both the AFC and NFC, giving NFL bettors another tasty football schedule.