DENVER - NOVEMBER 14: Head coach Josh McDaniels of the Denver Broncos celebrates a touchdown on the sidelines against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second quarter at INVESCO Field at Mile High on November 14 2010 in Denver Colorado. The Denver Broncos defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 49-29. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
I believe that the Broncos can win the AFC West. I believe that Kyle Orton and Knowshon Moreno are going to kick the battered and bruised San Diego Chargers defense squarely in the teeth and I'm of the opinion that Philip Rivers will get a face full of Joe Mays.
Some might call my opinion optimistic. Others will ask me how much extra sweetener I am putting in my Kool Aid.
You can say what you want, but I am not afraid of the current position the Broncos hold in the AFC West standings. If they play like they did against Kansas City, I don't see any reason why they can't win the division.
Before you throw up your hands and say "but KB, that's impossible"... just let me show you how the Broncos can win the AFC West.
It doesn't take a PhD in Mathematics to figure out that the Broncos are in a hole. In fact, the Broncos have only 7 weeks to surpass 3 teams in the division standings. Furthermore, they are 1 game behind the Chargers, 2 games behind the Chiefs, and 2 games behind the Raiders.
Here are the remaining games on the Broncos' schedule:
@ San Diego Chargers Monday, November 22 20106:30 PM MST
St. Louis Rams Sunday, November 28 20102:15 PM MST
@ Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, December 05 201011:00 AM MST
@ Arizona Cardinals Sunday, December 12 20102:15 PM MST
@ Oakland Raiders Sunday, December 19 20102:15 PM MST
Houston Texans Sunday, December 26 20102:05 PM MST
San Diego Chargers Sunday, January 02 20112:15 PM MST
You'll notice that of the 7 games, 4 of those are against division opponents. This means that the Broncos can put a major dent in the AFC West standings before the year is out.
How to pass the Chargers
This one isn't very complex. With a Broncos win on Monday night, they are tied in the division standings with the Chargers but will have the head-to-head tiebreaker. Another win against the Chargers in week 17 and we are theoretically a game up on the Bolts (barring the results of the other 5 games on the schedule).
In any case, the Broncos still control their own destiny against the Chargers. With that said, it is very important that we beat the Chargers because I don't see many losses upcoming. They have the Colts, Raiders, Chiefs, 49ers, Bengals and Broncos to end the year. Without the Broncos two victories, it could become an uphill battle in a hurry.
How to pass the Chiefs
Against the Chiefs, the Broncos are in a less favorable but still manageable position. The Broncos have already
beaten destroyed the Chiefs, this season. If they can win again at Arrowhead Stadium in week 13, they are ensuring at least a 4-6 record for the Broncos and a 5-5 record for the Chiefs (barring the results of the other games, of course).
That means that the Broncos will just need to pick up one more game on the Chiefs and, all of a sudden, we are ahead of the Chiefs because of our head-to-head tiebreaker. I could see a couple more losses for the Chiefs. They have the Cardinals, Seahawks, Broncos, Chargers, Rams, Titans and Raiders to finish off the season.
Now that we're ahead of the Chiefs and Chargers, we've only got one more team in our sights.
How to pass the Raiders
The Raiders have already beaten us, this season. It was in our own back yard and it was also an epic beat down. Fortunately for us, we will see them again. With a win in Oakland, the Broncos will essentially be one game back and the head-to-head tiebreaker will be a wash since the season series will go to 1-1. Next on the list of tiebreakers would be division record. With the Raiders at a 3-0 division record, currently, the Broncos are at a disadvantage. Denver has a 1-1 record, right now.
However, if the Broncos can beat the Raiders, the Raiders go to a 3-1 division record and the Broncos rise to 2-1. Since we'll need the other division games, anyways, the Broncos will need to be 5-1 to have a chance at winning a tie against the Raiders.
The Broncos best option would be to win outright, unless the Chiefs and Chargers can help us out, a bit. This means that they'll need to beat the Raiders in Oakland and then pick up 2 extra games on the Raiders. That is very possible considering they play the Steelers, Dolphins, Jaguars, Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs and Colts before the season is over. I could see numerous losses mounting for the Raiders.
There are 3 more games for the Broncos that we haven't discussed. They are all outside of the division and only one of them is an AFC conference game (Houston). These games are the bonus games, all of which appear winnable. The Rams, Cardinals and Texans are all beatable, especially if the Broncos play like they did against the Chiefs last week.
The Broncos are far from out of the race. The rest of the division has a handful of games that could result in losses. Most important to the Broncos playoff hopes are the 4 remaining divisional games. They must take advantage of those games and get 4 victories. Those victories will go a long way in helping the Broncos climb the standings. Although there are a guaranteed total of 3 losses that will be tallied between the Chiefs, Chargers and Raiders because they must play each other one more time before the end of the season.
It could be a wild winter, Broncos fans. Of course, all of this speculation will depend on whether the Broncos play like the Broncos of a month ago or the Broncos from last week. Hopefully, it's the latter.