They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Well, the road to San Diego and the Broncos' playoff hopes is sometimes clouded by unrealistic expectations. HT asked us to look down the road to our season ending game against San Diego and determine if the Broncos would be sitting pretty with a playoff spot secure or scrambling for our playoff lives in an epic battle against the hated Bolts.
So I asked myself, what the Chargers must do to catch us (barring a complete collapse on our part)?
Da Bolts – 3-5 (2 GB).
Kansas City Chiefs (W, should win)
@ Pittsburgh Steelers (critical game)
Indianapolis Colts (critical game)
Atlanta Falcons (W, should win, will be tough)
Oakland Raiders (W, should destroy)
@ Kansas City Chiefs (W, should win)
@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (critical game)
I’ll give the Chargers 4 wins hands down. That gets them to 7-5. If they manage to sweep the 3 tougher opponents (we’re in trouble b/c they’re playing really well), they’ll be 10-5 going into our end of season match up. If that’s the case, our team will be on red alert. I’d love to see us lose only 1 game before we play SD, but I don’t see that, especially as we continue to lose players to injury. However, I think SD will stumble down the stretch and can easily go 2-1 or even 1-2 against those tough opponents (if they lose all 3, yeah us!). Those latter records put them at 9-6 (makes our game against them meaningful) or 8-7 (could still make our game meaningful). Why? Keep reading…
Broncos – 5-4
@ Atlanta Falcons (critical game)
Oakland Raiders (W, should destroy)
@ New York Jets (critical game)
Kansas City Chiefs (W, should win. revenge game, to boot)
@ Carolina Panthers (critical game)
Buffalo Bills (critical game)
@ San Diego Chargers (critical game)
Man, unless your drinking some serious kool-aid, you’ll notice how brutal our end of season schedule is. The Panthers, Bills and Chargers will be vying for playoff positions. I cannot, in good conscious, give us easy wins over any team other than KC and OAK. That brings us to 7-4. We really need to go at least 2-2 in those 4 tougher games before we play SD (the ATL game next week is critical for us and would make me feel better about our chances). Two wins puts us at 9-6 before the SD game. I think this is our best case scenario. That being said, I can seriously see us going 1-3 or even 0-4 against our tougher opponents.
I know we’re not supposed to think that way, and some may accuse me of not keeping the faith, but our team has been decimated by injuries and we pretty much have to shoot our way out of the AFC West bar to stand a chance. And by shoot our way out, I mean Cutler will rack up loads of yards/TDs, and sadly, load of INTs (I’m surprised more people haven’t made the Favre comparison yet. Oh wait, people will have that chance when we play the Jets).
So, can we do it? Sure. Will it be so easy that we can rest our players against SD? I seriously doubt that. Hell, if that’s the case, that means we played great down the stretch and SD imploded. Still, I hate the mindset that is fearful of playing another team. Let’s hope we get to be the team that knocks SD out of the playoff picture while we win the division. That’s the kind of game that we can build on going into next season. Next season you say? Keep reading…
Just because I say this doesn’t mean I'm not rooting my ass off that we don’t “go...all...the...way!” But right now we’re barely a playoff contender (thank you parity), have lost more players at key positions than most teams (seriously, we can’t afford to lose anymore players), a team that plays with a reckless abandon that drives me to drink in jubilation and despair, and have a very difficult schedule down the stretch. I want us to get into the playoffs. I want our young players to taste it so that they’ll work even harder in the offseason. But just because I want some it, doesn’t mean it will happen. If our team makes the playoffs this year, it will be because they earned it. GO BRONCOS!