We interrupt your regularly scheduled Tim Tebow rants to talk about the rest of the Denver Broncos and the AFC West. Things have been so deep around Broncos Country that I thought I would lighten it up, at least a bit, by talking about the final six games for the Broncos and their AFC West Foes.
First, a look at the AFC West Standings as we approach Thanksgiving:
AFC West Standings
Things are tight in the West, needless to say, with all four teams within two games of the lead. At 19 wins, the division is also better than many think - the NFC South and NFC East also have combined for 19 wins. The NFC North leads all divisions with 26 wins, followed by the AFC North with 24. The worst? The AFC South with 15 wins.
Looking ahead at what each team in the AFC West has left, the Broncos, at least on paper, have the 'easiest' remaining schedule - at least in terms of opponent win/loss.
We'll start with Denver - They'll face the following schedule:
|DENVER BRONCOS (3 H, 3A)||W||L|
|@ San Diego Chargers||4||6|
|@ Minnesota Vikings||2||8|
|Vs. Chicago Bears||7||3|
|Vs. New England Patriots||7||3|
|@ Buffalo Bills||5||5|
|Vs. Kansas City Chiefs||4||6|
The Broncos have a few things working in their favor. First, their tougher opponents need to come to Sports Authority Field, with the exception of the Chargers on Sunday. While not an extreme home field advantage for San Diego, the Broncos have had trouble winning their, save for 2009. Still the combined record of their three road opponents - 11-19 - is far worse than their home games - 18-12. The Broncos have played well on the road, and will need that to continue.
The Broncos control their own destiny - keep winning and they'll be in the playoffs.
Now for the Raiders, who have it a bit tougher than the Broncos:
|OAKLAND RAIDERS(3H, 3A)||W||L|
|Vs. Chicago Bears||7||3|
|@ Miami Dolphins||3||7|
|@ Green Bay Packers||10||0|
|Vs. Detroit Lions||7||3|
|@ Kansas City Chiefs||4||6|
|Vs. San Diego Chargers||4||6|
Sometimes the records lie a bit. At first glance, the Raiders opponents(35-25) appear to be much tougher than the Broncos. Unfortunately, the Raiders catch a break with the Bears coming to town in the middle of adjusting to Jay Cutler's injury. Their next three games, however, could tell the tale. A trip to Miami - the Dolphins will have 10 days to prepare after taking on Dallas on Thursday - is never easy and the Packers and Lions await after that. The Broncos need to make their move over the next 3 week while hoping the Raiders slip.
How about the Chargers? While I would love to count them out, they have proven in the past to be hard to kill. The Broncos likely have that chance on Sunday but will need to finish Philip Rivers and Co. off. Here is what they have left:
|SAN DIEGO CHARGERS(3H, 3A)||W||L|
|Vs. Denver Broncos||5||5|
|@ Jacksonville Jaguars||3||7|
|Vs. Buffalo Bills||5||5|
|Vs. Baltimore Ravens||7||3|
|@ Detroit Lions||7||3|
|@ Oakland Raiders||6||4|
The Chargers have life, thanks to a pretty easy go of it - IF they get past the Broncos. A trip to Jacksonville, followed by a visit from the fading Bills could have the Chargers sitting at 7-6 heading into the stretch drive. A loss to Denver, however, and San Diego could be in big, big trouble. I prefer the latter.
And now the Chiefs. While still in the thick of it in terms of record, Kansas City is a mess and appears done. If Matt Cassel's injury wasn't enough, check out their remaining schedule:
|KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (3H, 3A)||W||L|
|Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers||7||3|
|@ Chicago Bears||7||3|
|@ New York Jets||5||5|
|Vs. Green Bay Packers||10||0|
|Vs. Oakland Raiders||6||4|
|@ Denver Broncos||5||5|
That's right. The worst the Chiefs have remaining are a pair of 5-5 teams, the Broncos being one of them. With an unproven quarterback and injuries all over the place the Chiefs may be hard pressed to win one of these games. While still technically in the race, we may not include the Chiefs next week.
There you have it. Finally, something other than Tim Tebow to talk about - at least for awhile! Hash it out in the comments, what will it take for the Broncos to win the AFC West?