Well, I had no idea we would end up here after the Denver Broncos lost to the Houston Texans before the bye week. It feels like ages ago everything in Broncos Country was doom and gloom. Just a few short weeks later the Broncos have won a couple of games, and we are all just basking in the glow of a potential playoff run.
As Ian St. Clair and I discussed on the MHR Radio Podcast, the Broncos win over the Pittsburgh Steelers has put them into the playoff discussion. With a road game against a wounded Cincinnati Bengals team up next, a win will announce their presence in the playoff chase with authority (to paraphrase Nuke LaLoosh).
This may seem like delusion to some, but the Broncos have started to find ways to win games where they had been finding ways to lose them earlier in the season. And after climbing two difficult steps on the stairway to the playoffs in the Steelers and the Los Angeles Chargers, the ascension can continue with a win in Cincinnati.
We all know that each week is just one more step up the stairway to the postseason, and one misstep is likely the end of that climb. But a win against the Bengals sets the Broncos up for a late-season push. And now Andy Dalton is done for the season, putting the Bengals’ hopes in the hands of Jeff Driskel. The next step looks a little less daunting.
The #Broncos need to send a message on Sunday. On the latest @MileHighReport Radio Podcast, prove to #BroncosCountry & the #NFL the last two weeks weren't a fluke. @AdamMalnati16 & I also give our keys to the #Bengals game, players to watch, & predictions. https://t.co/uVpN5XVwvx— Ian St. Clair (@IanStClair) November 28, 2018
The climb is not the only issue facing Denver. The truth is that running the table the rest of the way may not be enough. Two teams the Broncos will have to leapfrog are the Baltimore Ravens and the Texans. Both teams own the head-to-head tie breaker. Even winning out may not matter.
What that could mean is the best path to the postseason, along with winning the rest of the games on the schedule, could be going through the Chargers. Jumping them in the AFC West standings could clear the way for a wildcard birth.
None of the scenarios matter if the Broncos can’t keep the momentum going and defeat a banged up Bengals team. Denver also has the chance to make a statement. A dominating performance could go a long way to making the rest of the league take notice. It doesn’t matter if they do. Maybe it is better if they don’t. Let the Broncos sneak in. If they can do that, they might find the opportunity to make a run. At that point, who knows what could happen?