Denver Broncos schedule analysis

Breakdown: An analysis of the Denver Broncos’ schedule has to start with the latter part of the season. The Broncos have collapsed the past two seasons under two different coaches. In 2008, Denver blew a three-game lead in the division in the final three weeks under Mike Shanahan. Last season, Denver lost its final four games, ruining a 6-0 start under Josh McDaniels.

The Broncos have to find a way to finish strong. Denver plays four games against teams that made the playoffs in 2009 in the second half of the season, including two games against four-time defending AFC West champion San Diego. The Broncos, who play in San Diego on ESPN’s "Monday Night Football" on Nov. 22, host the Chargers in Week 17.

If Denver is going to end its recent trend of poor play in the late part of the season, it will do it on the strength of playing the final two games against Houston and San Diego at home.

Complaint department: Denver opens December play with three straight road games, Kansas City in Week 13, Arizona in Week 14 and Oakland in Week 15. At least the Broncos won’t have to travel too far in any of those road games in the most pivotal month of the season. Still, playing three straight roadies is always a tall task.

Take advantage of the England trip: The Broncos play a road game at London against San Francisco on Oct. 31. The surrounding schedule is friendly. The Broncos host Oakland at home the week before traveling to England. Denver gets a bye in Week 9 before hosting Kansas City on Nov. 14. Teams that play in Europe often have a rough stretch but this appears pretty manageable.

Broncos Regular Season Schedule (All times Eastern)

Week 1: Sunday, Sep. 12, at Jacksonville, 1:00 PM

Week 2: Sunday, Sep. 19, Seattle, 4:05 PM

Week 3: Sunday, Sep. 26, Indianapolis, 4:15 PM

Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 3, at Tennessee, 1:00 PM

Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 10, at Baltimore, 1:00 PM

Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 17, NY Jets, 4:05 PM

Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 24, Oakland, 4:15 PM

Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 31, at San Francisco, 1:00 PM

Week 9: BYE

Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 14, Kansas City, 4:05 PM

Week 11: Monday, Nov. 22, at San Diego, 8:30 PM

Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 28, St. Louis, 4:15 PM

Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 5, at Kansas City, 1:00 PM

Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 12, at Arizona, 4:15 PM

Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 19, at Oakland, 4:15 PM

Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 26, Houston, 4:05 PM

Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 2, San Diego, 4:15 PM