We've been here before; sitting at 8-6 with two games left and anticipating a playoff appearance. The last time the Broncos were in this position, they came up short, folding down the stretch like a lawn chair to the Carolina Panthers, Buffalo Bills, and the hated San Diego Chargers. For the truly superstitious, our next opponent has to be sending shivers down the spine. In 2008, the Broncos faced a Buffalo team that ended a five game skid by pulling out a hard fought 23-30 win at Invesco Field. The 2011 Bills are currently on a seven game slide. This week is going to tell the tale of just how different our 2011 team is compared to the injury ravaged, under achievers of 2008. Will history repeat itself? Broncos faithful certainly hope not.
The 2011 Broncos have already dealt with a lot of adversity this season. They started the season 1-4, and it really looked as if the team would struggle. The 2008 Broncos were 4-1 after five games and looked poised to make a playoff run. The 2011 Broncos sit at 3-2 in the division, just as the 2008 Broncos did at this juncture. The difference in 2011 is that no other team has a winning record within the division. The Broncos division record at this point gives them a slight edge in the race for the west. A win at home against Kyle Orton and the Kansas City Chiefs will clinch the division for the Broncos no matter what happens on Christmas Eve in Buffalo. I have a strong belief that it won't boil down to that. I have faith that this team is going to do what it takes to end the drought.
On the surface, these two seasons seem very similar at this juncture, but this Broncos team is vastly different. That 2008 team under achieved to get to where they were at this point. The 2011 Broncos have reached this point by over achieving and going on an improbable run. That 2008 team was suppose to be in the hunt. Our 2011 Broncos were only supposed to muster about 5 wins in a rebuilding effort. I don't think the fact has been missed by this team that they aren't suppose to be here and I am sure they would love nothing more than to stick around. Hopefully they're like a Timex; they take a lickin and keep on tickin right into the post-season.
I hate losing, but I'll take the loss to the Patriots where it came. This team needed to come back down to earth a bit after their improbable run. I would rather it have been last week than this week. Thankfully, the Raiders did not take advantage of our misfortune and the Broncos are still in control of their destiny. Hopefully that loss gets this team out from under the media microscope and helps them focus on getting the Denver Broncos back to the post season for the first time since 05. There has been way too much noise surrounding this team and I would rather they sneak into the playoffs as quietly as possible. Wether that can happen remains to be seen.