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Could the Broncos sneak into the playoffs?

They aren’t dead, yet.

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NFL: Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers
Batman saved the day Sunday, what will he do for an encore?
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

It’s always more fun to look around the net for links after a Broncos win, so today was a good Monday. As I’m sure you know, the usual suspects all played crucial roles in upsetting the Chargers Sunday, but in case you live on Mars: Courtland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders came up huge to clinch, Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman pitched in when they got opportunities, Von Miller and Bradley Chubb came up huge time and again.

I’ll spend more time going over the unusual heroes (and goats?) tomorrow for GIF Horse, but bask in this one for a minute Broncos Country. In the short term it’s always better to beat a division rival in their house, even if the Stubhub Center is basically a neutral field.

Chargers Crowd Was Embarrassing Against Broncos

Despite entering the game with a stellar 7-2 record and a six-game winning streak, the Chargers still couldn’t pack the tiny StubHub Center. All you could see in the stands were orange Broncos jerseys and empty seats. Denver was a woeful 3-6 entering the game, yet their fans showed up.

In the longer term, the win over Los Angeles could prove costly for Elway and the front office this spring. At 4-6 Denver now has about a 12% chance at reaching the playoffs, but their odds of landing a top 10 pick in the NFL Draft fall to a snowballs chance. Don’t confuse me for an advocate for tanking, but those odds can’t be ignored. For kicks and grins I looked at the ESPN Playoff Machine to try and decipher what scenarios have to play out for Denver to bust into the dance in January.

2018 NFL Playoff Machine - Simulate Matchups and Scenarios - ESPN

In the unlikely scenario that every favored team but Denver wins every week, they’ll need to win out. There are a number of scenarios that leave the Broncos one possible slip, but at that point they wouldn’t control their own destiny at all. So if you’re still hoping for the Orange Crush to get one more shot at Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, keep showing out.

On to the Broncos Links

NFL teams we cannot figure out: Packers, Broncos, Lions, Titans |

Broncos (4–6): A team that looked to be on the verge of an in-season coach firing throttled the Cardinals 45–10 to save Vance Joseph’s job in October. They’ve come within a field goal of the Rams, a touchdown of the Chiefs and a safety of the Texans. Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman have 900 combined rushing yards already and Von Miller still steps in to take over a game every few weeks. And on Sunday, they beat the red-hot Chargers.

NFL Power Rankings: Saints keep steamrolling opponents

23. Denver Broncos (4-6, LW: 26) I’m not really sure how we got here but the Broncos aren’t out of the playoff race. They’re just a game behind a glut of teams that are 5-5 for the final wild-card spot. The wild-card races might be really crazy this season.

Broncos’ Twitter reacts to the comeback win - victory mood in full swing - Mile High Report

We finally got one.

Denver Broncos: 5 things learned in 23-22 win against the L.A. Chargers - Mile High Report

The Denver Broncos put together an impressive fourth quarter comeback to defeat the Los Angeles Chargers 23-22 on Sunday afternoon. Here are five things we learned from today’s game.

Denver Broncos 8 winners, 3 losers in 23-22 win over Chargers - Mile High Report

Winners Broncos Country Hat tip to the orange-clad fans in the stands on Sunday. You guys played a big role in your team picking up the win.

Broncos notch first ever win against Chargers in Los Angeles - Mile High Report

Someone at Dove Valley needs to lock ol’ Bill in a room with game tape of every game from the Broncos 1998 season so he can see what he’s supposed to do with #30. Don’t let him out until he’s watched every second. No snacks. No pee breaks.

Joseph: How about the refs get it right? - Mile High Report

“I don’t want to challenge it — get the call right. How about that? Don’t always put it on us. Get the call right,” Joseph said, adding that he thought Keenum scored but didn’t have a view on the field or from upstairs. “If you don’t have a view upstairs, how can you challenge it with no view? It’s going to be inconclusive, and it’s going to go back to the field call. If it was good, get it right like we have to. How about that?”

Vance Joseph: Staff in press box lacked clear replay of 2-point play – ProFootballTalk

“I would prefer if the officials are not sure if it’s a positive or negative play, just call it on the positive side because it’s a built-in fix for him. Once he calls it a score, it’s reviewed. If it’s not a score, I have to obviously challenge it. If my views are not clear to challenge it, I can’t because it’s 12 minutes in that game. If I lose that challenge, it costs me something. It was more important to keep our timeout there without having clear evidence. Now, if it was clear, absolutely we would challenge it. But it wasn’t clear to our guys upstairs.”

Let me just say it seems ridiculous that Joseph and his staff doesn’t know what to look for on that play. Coaching errors almost cost the Broncos another victory. Some would say they should have, had Rivers not choked.

Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers game balls: The big play wins it - Mile High Report

In Week 11, the Denver Broncos pulled out a road win over the Los Angeles Chargers mostly due to the big play.

Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers game balls: The big play wins it - Mile High Report

In Week 11, the Denver Broncos pulled out a road win over the Los Angeles Chargers mostly due to the big play.

NFL Week 11: The 11 dumbest mistakes from Sunday, ranked -

5. Vance Joseph refused to use his challenges because the refs screwed up Twice, calls on the field went against the Broncos. Twice, their head coach declined to throw out his challenge flag.

Marino’s 2019 Mock Draft 3.0 - Page 4 of 4 - The Draft Network

12. Denver Broncos PICK: David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin The Broncos offensive line is full of question marks and expiring contracts, meanwhile 2017 first-round pick Garrett Bolles continues to be inconsistent at left tackle. Edwards is a road grader as a run blocker while showcasing good control, posture and balance in pass pro. A converted tight end, Edwards has considerable upside and has developed nicely at the position. He offers a high ceiling and would be a great addition to start solidifying things up front offensively for Denver.

43. Denver Broncos: DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia

Looking ahead to the Pittsburgh Stealers Steelers

AFC Playoff picture: How the Chiefs-Rams results impacts standings

Right now the team closest to the Chiefs for the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs is the Steelers (7-2-1). They are 1/2 a game back from the Chiefs, but the Chiefs own a tiebreaker over the Steelers. I don’t see the Chiefs ending a game in a tie anytime soon, so don’t count on that happening.

Report Card: Grading the Steelers’ epic 20-16 win over the Jaguars - Behind the Steel Curtain

The Steelers won ugly. If the Broncos are going to spring another upset, they’ll have to force Pittsburgh into a brawl again.

7 Takeaways from the Steelers thrilling comeback win over the Jaguars - Behind the Steel Curtain

The Steelers certainly had a rocky game, but still pulled off the comeback.

Let me just say that the Stealers Steelers didn’t win that game so much as Jacksonville lost it.

6 Winners and 5 Losers after the Steelers’ 20-16 win over the Jaguars - Behind the Steel Curtain

After a game, we take note of certain players who performed well and others who didn’t. This is where the Winners and Losers column comes in.

Roosevelt Nix is the “Glue Guy” for the Pittsburgh Steelers - Behind the Steel Curtain

Nix is the quintessential “will do anything to make it” story.

A look around the rest of the West

Let just say that if you missed last night’s MNF game, you missed an instant classic. I have my doubts the Chiefs and Saints will meet again for the Lombardi, history has a way of interfering along the line, but there’s little doubt that the future of the league was on full display.

Rams outlast Chiefs in high-scoring instant classic -

In the highest-scoring game in Monday Night Football history and the third highest-scoring game in league history, the Rams (10-1) needed two late Patrick Mahomes picks to hold on and top the Chiefs (9-2), 54-51.

Turnovers trump TDs on a near-magnificent night for Patrick Mahomes - Kansas City Chiefs Blog- ESPN

According to Elias, Mahomes is the first player since 1933 (when player stats were first tracked) with six passing touchdowns and five turnovers in a game.

NFL Week 11 Grades: Rams earn an ‘A’ for epic victory over Chiefs on Monday, high praise for Luck, Colts -

Chiefs: B After playing nearly perfect football through the first 10 weeks of the season, Patrick Mahomes finally looked mortal against the Rams. Although Mahomes put up huge numbers (478 yards, six touchdowns), he was single-handedly responsible for turning the ball over five times (three interceptions, two lost fumbles) with two of those turnovers being returned for touchdowns by the Rams. Tyreek Hill also had a big game (215 receiving yards, two touchdowns), but like Mahomes, he made a couple of mistakes that he’d probably like to have back. In the fourth quarter alone, Hill cost the Chiefs some serious field position when he tried to return two different punts from inside his own two-yard line. Defensively, the Chiefs sacked Jared Goff five times and returned a fumble for a touchdown, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Mahomes’ five turnovers.

Samson Ebukam leads way as Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs combine for 3 defensive TDs on MNF

Ebukam became the first player since sacks became official in 1982 with a sack, interception and multiple touchdowns in a single game, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Kareem Hunt’s multiple and many touchdowns matches mark from 1961

LOS ANGELES -- Kareem Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs became the first player since 1961 to have at least seven rushing touchdowns and seven receiving touchdowns in his team’s first 11 games.

Rams outgun Chiefs in wild 54-51 MNF shootout |

”What a great football game tonight, in terms of just the competitive nature of the game,” Rams Coach Sean McVay said afterward. “Guys responding back and forth - all three phases, special teams, offense, defense.”

Keenan Allen: Broncos ‘suck,’ don’t deserve credit -

”No, I don’t think they played well at all,” via Eric Williams of “We dominated the game. Turnovers, we gave them some points and that’s what happened. They suck.”

NFL Winners and Losers: The Cowboys are alive and well

The Chargers and yet another weird loss: The Chargers put up 479 yards, held the Broncos under 250 yards through the first 58 minutes and still lost. That’s hard to do, but it’s just another weird loss for the Chargers. The Chargers found a few ways to lose Sunday. They missed an extra point in a 23-22 loss to the Broncos, and kicking woes just seem to be in their DNA. Inside of the two-minute warning and with the Broncos out of timeouts, Philip Rivers threw incomplete on a screen pass that was well covered, a mistake that gave the Broncos an extra 40 seconds. Denver won on a field goal on the final play. These are just the types of games the Chargers lose. They were on a nice roll, keeping pace with the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West, but they can’t seem to shake the weird losses that have plagued them for years.

Chargers injuries will define the remainder of the season - Bolts From The Blue

The Chargers run D could be a lot more susceptible down the stretch without Liuget.

Audibles at the Line: Week 11 | Football Outsiders

There’s a lot of blame to go around here for the Chargers, but let’s not forget that with a third down and the clock stopped for the two-minute warning, Philip Rivers intentionally threw a pass at the feet of his receiver to avoid a sack -- and in doing so, he stopped the clock. He knew immediately he had screwed up, but it’s even more clear in hindsight.

Mitchell Schwartz’s Midwestern demeanor has helped him as a Chief - Arrowhead Pride

I can’t help but watch Schwartz and wonder what could have been if Elway hadn’t tried to get cute with Donald Stephenson.

NFL - Ranking the top 25 prospects at the midpoint of the 2018 season

You need ESPN insider for this one, but Maurice Hurst as number 1 is about the least surprising thing ever. Still mad Elway passed on him.

Jon Gruden, Derek Carr’s reactions tell the story of the Raiders’ win -

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

On to the NFL Links

Wanted to share a personal note. At one point as I worked as a video guy for my local university team I dreamed of someday breaking into real coaching. I know that’s a dream many football fans have, but I can tell you firsthand it takes a ridiculous amount of work, luck (and the right connections). Alas, the financial burden became impossible and I went overseas to teach and work for MMQB instead, but I thought this story was an interesting one.

Long days, big dreams: The grind of an NFL quality-control coach - Washington Redskins Blog- ESPN

”I don’t know who named it or who came up with it,” O’Hara said. “It’s not a great name. It doesn’t really describe it in much detail. Quality control is vague.” In a nutshell: They’re responsible for writing scouting reports on future opponents, often working a game or two ahead. They draw up the plays the coaches want in the game plan that week. They put together the practice scripts. They assist in the coaches’ booth on game day.

The Saints Are Looking Like the 2007 Patriots: Week 11’s Big Stories

“Obviously, 2007 in New England was really special,” Watson said. “And this year, in many ways, it kind of does [feel the same], just in the way that we’re able to execute on offense. We get up to the line of scrimmage, there’s not much that we call that we don’t think we can execute. You’ve got a variety of different guys that contributing in different ways. The only thing I would say different would be that the guys that are the stars of this offense are probably younger than they were in New England.

After Further Review: With Jaguars officially broken, overdue changes are in order | NFL | Sporting News

As bad as Keenum’s been at times, Bortles has been worse. That’s just one reason why I’d be shocked if Elway moves on from Case after this season. There isn’t a realistic alternative on the market that makes sense. Denver could always draft an eventual heir, but it’s a weak QB class.

Danny Trevathan Slams Cousins for Prime Time Comment - NBC Chicago

The Chicago Bears already made a big statement with their win over the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, but it appears some of the players weren’t quite done Monday.

Chicago Bears clearly made wise decision in retaining Vic Fangio -

”When we didn’t know if Vic was going to be back or not, and then we found out that he was going to be here, there was so much enthusiasm with all the guys,” Hicks said. “We were texting each other and we were excited about having that opportunity to have that same defense again, because it makes it easier on you as a player. So it was big, huge, monumental. We would not be here without that. Not even possible.”

Marvin Lewis talks running QBs after Lamar shreds D -

”We’ve got to keep leverage and get it done,” Lewis told reporters after the game. “That’s the difference with a running quarterback. That’s why the quarterbacks don’t run forever in the NFL. Sooner or later, they get hurt, and they don’t run the same. But today he could run, and he did a good job.”

After 10 games, here are 5 things Packers must do to turn season around

“We have to clearly understand we have five losses and we haven’t won on the road yet,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “So, I don’t want to say there’s a lot of football left. There’s enough football.”

Lions’ Kerryon Johnson week to week with knee sprain – ProFootballTalk

My fantasy team isn’t dead, yet. In the MHR league I’m a bottom feeder, but this year I also took over my friend’s keeper auction team for him and after a few lucky waiver claims find Pickle Rick in 3rd place. We stole a win by .8 points Sunday without an active kicker.

Mariota suffered stinger vs. Colts; Pees doing well

Coach Mike Vrabel on Monday eased concerns over Mariota’s setback, calling the elbow issue ”a stinger,” per Jim Wyatt of the team’s official website.

Alex Smith’s compound fracture will require 6-8 month recovery – ProFootballTalk

Alex Smith‘s lower leg injury was a compound fracture, meaning the bone broke through the skin, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. The Washington quarterback underwent surgery Sunday night, and trauma surgeons discovered a spiral fracture, defined as a long bone broken by a rotational force.

Does Colin Kaepernick deserve another chance in the NFL? Adrian Peterson weighs in | NBC Sports Washington

Redskins running back Adrian Peterson made crystal clear that he believes former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick deserves another chance to play in the NFL.

Analyzing why the Redskins chose Mark Sanchez to be McCoy’s backup | NBC Sports Washington

The Redskins worked out a few QBs Monday but ultimately chose Mark Sanchez as their backup, a choice that JP Finlay explains here.

Redskins president reportedly not interested in Kaepernick as team brings in Sanchez, Manuel and Yates -

The Redskins lost starting quarterback Alex Smith to a season-ending injury on Sunday

What do you think Broncos Country?