ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- In a season of tests and obstacles, some of their own doing, some not, the Denver Broncos will have another little something to deal with Sunday in Houston.
A little thing called a wake-up call.
Because, though it is their 15th game of the season, Sunday's game at Reliant Stadium will still be the first time the Broncos have teed it up before 2:05 p.m. Mountain time -- 4:05 p.m. Eastern time -- all season. The Broncos and the Houston Texans will crank things up at 11 a.m. on the Broncos' Rocky Mountain body clocks.
Call it the intersection of the team's home time zone and popularity.
But in addition to the Broncos' home schedule, where the earliest kickoffs have been 2:05 p.m. Mountain time, they have played six times in prime time, three of those on the road in Indianapolis, New England and Kansas City. They also played the New York Giants in Week 2 with a 4:25 p.m. Eastern kickoff and Week 5 in Dallas, with a 3:25 p.m. Central time kickoff.
The Dec. 1 game in Kansas City had originally been scheduled as a noon Central time kickoff in Arrowhead, but was flexed by NBC into prime time. So, still in a battle for homefield advantage in the AFC, the Broncos know the job that needs to be done, they'll just have to rise and grind a little earlier to do it.