Kiz: Are you ready for some football? Is it just me, or has the most-anticipated Broncos season in years taken forever to get here? But I’m sure it has been worth the wait, because the Russell Wilson Era will begin in storybook fashion, with his triumphant return to Seattle. The Broncos are heavy 6 1/2-point favorites on the road. They can’t lose against the Seahawks. Right? Or am I missing something here?
O’Halloran: You’re not missing something here, part 1 — new owner/CEO Greg Penner has been in the NFL for less than a month and he said the preseason, “seems to drag on for a little while.” That the Broncos didn’t play Wilson and a majority of the other starters made August a longer slough than normal, but the countdown to Seattle is underway. You’re not missing something here, part 2 — I can’t see a path to the Seahawks winning even with the opening-night crowd and a new-look defensive scheme on their side. The Broncos’ November/December/January schedule demands a quick start (at least 2-0) and they will play with the required urgency.
Kiz: The foregone conclusion is the Broncos will roll in Seattle. How could they not? The Seahawks are starting Geno Smith at quarterback, for crying out loud. But could the amped-up energy of the Seattle crowd on a Monday night play a role in the outcome? My advice to Denver sports fans who want to bet with their hearts: Laying 6 1/2 points is tricky. If you’re truly confident in the Broncos’ chances, pick them to win outright, because can you imagine the angst in this dusty old cowtown if Wilson somehow loses this game?
O’Halloran: The last time the Broncos were such a big road favorite? November 2014 at St. Louis (minus-8 and lost 22-17). Since 2001, when a road favorite of at least six points, the Broncos are 15-5 straight-up and 11-9 against the spread. The crowd will be a factor … until the Seahawks start punting a lot. I will pick the Broncos to win, but not cover. And wow, this city will be on-edge if the Broncos lose the opener, an opener that has all kinds of layers, led by Wilson’s return to the city he called home for 10 years.
Kiz: Way back in 2012, in his debut with the Broncos, Peyton Manning completed 19 of 26 passes for 253 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions, during a 31-19 victory against Pittsburgh. I think Wilson would gladly take anything close to those same statistics in his debut, particularly the 9.73 yards per attempt. If Wilson can demonstrate Manning-esque efficiency, the Broncos will be smiling on the plane ride home from Seattle.
O’Halloran: Wilson is 6-4 in season openers, but check out the last two years (both on the road and both wins). He threw for 322 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions at Atlanta in 2020 and 254 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions at Indianapolis in ’21. Wilson for sure will take Manning’s debut numbers and sprint to the charter flight back to Denver.
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