The Denver Broncos are arguably facing an uphill battle heading into the 2009 season with the loss of Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears. The season schedule, announced yesterday, heaps on the adversity. The Broncos will host the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New England Patriots, the New York Giants, and the Dallas Cowboys next year. They’ll also travel to play the Baltimore Ravens, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Here’s a grim projection: The Broncos will start 3-0 but finish the season 5-11, according to The Denver Post, which may be a bit optimistic.