The Denver Broncos begin defense of their AFC West title at St. Louis, get three straight prime-time games early in the season, have a Thanksgiving night date at Kansas City and finish the regular season with a pair of home games. The NFL announced its regular-season schedule Thursday. The Broncos have one Monday night game, on Oct. 9 at home against Baltimore, which signed former Broncos defensive end Trevor Pryce and running back Mike Anderson in the offseason. Denver will play on Sunday night at least twice: Sept. 24 at New England and Oct. 15 against Oakland. Denver’s season starts at the St. Louis Rams on Sept. 10. The Broncos will play both of last year’s Super Bowl participants, Pittsburgh and Seattle. Denver lost to the Steelers 34-17 at Invesco Field at Mile High in last season’s AFC Championship Game and will play at Pittsburgh on Nov. 5. Seattle comes to Denver on Dec. 3 for the first time since leaving the AFC. Indianapolis, which won its first 13 games last season, comes to Invesco Field at Mile High on Oct. 29. Defending AFC North champion Cincinnati plays at Denver on Dec. 24. A matchup at Kansas City on Thanksgiving was announced by the NFL last month. The Bengals game is one of two home games to end the season. The 49ers finish the regular season at Denver on Dec. 31. The times of some late-season games could change. The NFL said Wednesday it will delay scheduling Sunday night games starting Nov. 19 for Weeks 10-15 and Week 17 to ensure intriguing prime-time matchups late in the season. The league will announce which games are switching no later than 12 days before the game, and six days before the Dec. 31 regular-season finale. Denver’s exhibition dates were released as well. The Broncos will play at Detroit on Aug. 11, at home against Tennessee on Aug. 19 and against Houston on Aug. 27 and at Arizona on Aug. 31. CONTACT THE WRITER: 476-4891 or firstname.lastname@example.org 2006 GAME-BY-GAME BREAKDOWN -Sunday, Sept. 10 at St. Louis 11 a.m., Edward Jones Dome The last time the Broncos traveled to St. Louis was in 2000 and they lost 41-36 in a wild Monday night game against the Rams. St. Louis has slowed down a bit since it was referred to as the Greatest Show on Turf but still has ability to make big plays. -Sunday Sept. 17 vs. Kansas City 2:15 p.m., Invesco Field at Mile High The Chiefs might end up being Denver ’s top competi tion for the AFC West title. The Broncos can’t afford to lose this game, be cause they have a tough assignment at Kansas Ci ty later in the year. -Sunday, Sept. 24 at New England 6:15 p.m., Gillette Stadium The Patriots have taken some hi ts in free agency this year, losing key players like kicker Adam Vinatieri, linebacker Willie McGinest and receiver David Givens. But they’re still the Patriot s, and they’ll want to pay back the Broncos for last year’s playoff loss at Denver . - Week 4 Bye week -Monday, Oct. 9 vs. Baltimore 6:30 p.m., Invesco Field at Mile High Defensive end Trevor Pryce and running back Mike Anderson, a pair of longtime Broncos, were released and signed with Baltimore. Both players had some great seasons for the Broncos and should be warmly received by fans. -Sunday, Oct. 15 vs. Oakland 6:15 p.m., Invesco Field at Mile High Denver is 17-5 against Oakland since Mike Shanahan took over as the Bronc os’ coach in 1995 and the Raiders appear to be in another rebuilding phase. But the Broncos also remember when the Raiders shocked them in a Sunday night game at Denver in 2004. -Sunday, Oct. 22 at Cleveland 2:05 p.m., Cleveland Browns Stadium Six members of the Broncos defensive line came to Denver from Cleveland. End Courtney Brown and tackle Gerard Warren, high draft picks who didn’t live up to expectations with the Browns, probably won’t get a warm reception. -Sunday, Oct. 29 vs. Indianapolis 2:15 p.m., Invesco Field at Mile High The Bronc os get a good look at the team that kno cked them out of the playoffs in 2003 and 2004. The Colts took a hi t when running back Edgerrin James went to Arizona as a free agent, but the Broncos will be tested by an explosive offense led by quarterback Peyton Manning. -Sunday, Nov. 5 at Pittsburgh 2:15 p.m., Heinz Field In January , the Bronc os were outclassed in a 34-17 loss to the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game. That game was at Invesco Field at Mile High. -Sunday, Nov. 12 at Oakland 2:05 p.m., McAfee Coliseum Fans never got a chance to really enjoy a one on-one battle between Bronc os cornerback Champ Bailey and Oakland receiver Randy Moss last season. Mos s was hurt most of the year and not at full speed. -Sunday, Nov. 19 vs. San Diego 2:15 p.m., Invesco Field at Mile High The Chargers dominated Denver in the first half of a Week 2 matchup at Inve sco Field last season. Then Champ Bailey had an interception return for a touchdown to start the se cond half. Denver won and their seasons went in different dir ections. -Thursday, Nov. 23 at Kansas City 6 p.m., Arrowhead Stadium The Broncos have a very tough time winning at Arrowhe ad Stadium, and this season they’ll have only three days of preparation befor e the Thanksgiving date. -Sunday, Dec. 3 vs. Seattle 2:15 p.m. Invesco Field at Mile High Like last year, the Bronc os get both of the previous se ason’ s Super Bowl particip ant s. The Seahawks are longtime rivals of the Bronc os when the teams wer e in the AFC West. -Sunday, Dec. 10 at San Diego 2:15 p.m., Qualcomm Stadium Last season at San Diego the Bronc os kno cked quarterback Drew Bree s out with a shoulder injury. Bree s is in New Orle ans now , and unte sted Philip Rivers is the Chargers’ quarterback. -Sunday, Dec. 17 at Arizona 2:05 p.m., Cardinals Stadium Quarterback Jake Plummer plays against his first NFL team for the first time. Plummer , who played six years wi th the Cardinals, also played college ne arby at Arizona State. The game will be at a new stadium. -Sunday, Dec. 24 vs. Cincinnati 2:15 p.m., Invesco Field at Mile High The last time Denver played the Bengals was 2004, and receiver Chad Johnson got the be st of Bronc os cornerback Champ Bailey . -Sunday, Dec. 31 vs. San Francisco 2:15 p.m., Invesco Field at Mile High The 49ers are 6-26 the past two se asons. In an exhibi tion at Denver last se ason, 49ers lineman Thomas Herrion collap sed after the game and died shortly after.
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