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Denver Broncos' 2022 schedule: Four of first six games in prime time

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The Denver Broncos' 2022 schedule was released along with the rest of the NFL slate Thursday.

The 2022 NFL season will kick off on Thursday, Sept. 8 with the Buffalo Bills at the defending champion Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. ESPN opens its schedule with Monday Night Football on Sept. 12 featuring the Broncos at the Seattle Seahawks, which will mark Russell Wilson's first regular-season start since Seattle traded him to the Broncos in March.

The final regular-season games for the 2022 season will be played Jan. 8, 2023. The playoffs begin Jan. 14 and continue through Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Arizona.

Here's what's in store for the Broncos:

Schedule

Sept. 12: at Seahawks (MNF)

Sept. 18: vs. Texans

Sept. 25: vs. 49ers (SNF)

Oct. 2: at Raiders

Oct. 6: vs. Colts (TNF)

Oct. 17: at Chargers (MNF)

Oct. 23: vs. Jets

Oct. 30: at Jaguars (in London, Wembley Stadium)

Nov. 6: Bye

Nov. 13: at Titans

Nov. 20: vs. Raiders

Nov. 27: at Panthers

Dec. 4: at Ravens

Dec. 11: vs. Chiefs (SNF)

Dec. 18: vs. Cardinals

Dec. 25: at Rams

Jan. 1: at Chiefs

Jan. 7/8: vs. Chargers

Strength of schedule: 15th, .509

Broncos | Tickets

Biggest takeaway

They're baaaack. At least in the eyes on the league's network television partners. Last season the Broncos did not appear on Monday Night Football for the first time since 1991, did not appear on Sunday Night Football and their only prime-time appearance was a Thursday night affair in Cleveland. But Wilson's arrival in the offseason blockbuster trade has returned the Broncos to the national stage, a perch they haven't enjoyed all that much since Peyton Manning retired in the weeks after Super Bowl 50. This year's Broncos' schedule, right from the season opener against Wilson's former team (the Seahawks) features five prime-time games, as well as a London trip and a Christmas Day matchup against the defending champs.

Revenge game

Wilson might have some personal revenge on his mind against his former employers in the opener, but for the organization, it's Dec. 11 against the Chiefs, a Sunday night affair. Why? C'mon. The Broncos haven't defeated the Chiefs since Sept. 17, 2015, and they've lost 13 in a row to Kansas City. In fact, few things sum up the Broncos' struggles in their post-Manning life like the annually dismal performances against the Chiefs, especially since Patrick Mahomes made his first career start against the Broncos in the 2017 regular-season finale, a 27-24 Chiefs win. Since then the Chiefs are 9-0 in games Mahomes has started against the Broncos, Kansas City has scored at least 27 points in seven of those nine games, and Mahomes has 12 touchdown passes to go with just four interceptions.

What the oddsmakers think

The oddsmakers have put the Broncos over/under win total at 10. To hit that they'll have to likely break the losing streak to the Chiefs, win most, or all, of their home games and be in a position to break a six-year playoff drought.

Bold prediction

If Wilson stays healthy, and he's only missed three games in his previous 10 years in the league (all three last season after finger surgery), the Broncos will -- finally -- finish with a winning record in the AFC West. A tall order given the division is suddenly one of the league's toughest with a high-end roster of quarterbacks and pass-rushers just to start. Over the last six seasons they have finished 1-5 in the division twice, 2-4 three times and 3-3 once.