The 2015-2016 NFL playoff picture is much clearer for the Denver Broncos than it was just a week ago. A win solves most of the scenarios, but that shouldn't stop us from rooting for some other underdogs to take a win today from the Broncos potential playoff foes.
The various scenarios are so plentiful if the Broncos somehow lose to the San Diego Chargers that it's just easier to embed this Tweet from ESPN than try to explain it.
This rooting guide assumes the Broncos will win and focused on the outside shot of Denver earning the No. 1 seed. Let's dream together for another hour or so.
AFC Playoff Standings
(Overall record, AFC record, remaining schedule)
1. New England Patriots (12-3, 9-2, at MIA)
2. Denver Broncos (11-4, 7-4, vs. SD)
3. Cincinnati Bengals (11-4, 8-3, vs. BAL)
4. Houston Texans (8-7, 6-5, vs. JAC)
5. Kansas City Chiefs (10-5, 9-2, vs. OAK)
6. New York Jets (10-5, 7-4, at BUF)
Go Broncos! vs. Chargers
Always root for Denver. If you've stumbled upon this blog post from elsewhere on the Internets, know that we're hardcore Broncos fans, and this rooting guide is meant for Broncos fans. Which means it's the only rooting guide that matters. Go Broncos!
Go Dolphins! vs. Patriots
Most of us probably assume that this game will be over at halftime, but let's root for them hard until it happens. Some fans think the Dolphins have a shot because Julian Edleman is not travelling with the team. That would mean something if Edleman has played a snap in game over the last month and a half. He hasn't and the Patriots have been winning games.
Still. It would be nice to see Tom Brady choke away a chance at homefield advantage. We all know how much he loves to play in Denver where he has a career losing percentage.
Go Raiders! vs. Chiefs
This one disgusts me, but that's because I'm a native Californian and grew up being harassed by their fans. Part of me would rather see the Chiefs winning streak continue. Nothing breeds over-confidence more than a good long winning streak and nothing is harder to maintain.
However, with the AFC West on the line, the smart choice is to root for the team that can help you win the West no matter what happens. A Raiders win would do just that.
Go Bills! vs. Jets
As far as playoff scenarios go, this one is on the bottom of my rooting list. If the Broncos lose the West, I really don't care which seed they end up with. Still, it hurts no one to root for Rex Ryan to sweep his former team to close out the season.
Go Ravens! vs. Bengals
All of these tiebreaker scenarios are important, but this one is probably near the top - just under rooting for our own Broncos to win. Keeping the Bengals fro getting the bye week is not as important as winning the AFC West, but if somehow all these teams lose and it comes down to record then a Bengals loss would still give the Broncos a bye week.