Despite a rash of injuries that kneecapped the team, the Denver Broncos find themselves at 2-3 and firmly in the hunt for a wildcard spot. It should be noted that the Broncos three losses came to teams that are a combined 14-2. The two losses to the undefeated Titans and Steelers were by two and five points.
Admittedly, the two wins were against the arguably the worst team in football, the Jets, and a Patriots team that seemed to be pulling guys off the street to play offensive line and that hadn’t practiced together very much in two weeks. With this in mind we discussed the current moment for the Broncos.
Are the Broncos really a playoff contender at 2-3 with loads of defensive salary on the IR or is it a mirage that comes from beating the worst team in football and a team that had been similarly dinged by illness and injury?
Joe M. - We’ve still got six division games to play. I’m gonna say we split those (which means we finally beat the Chiefs). That would put us at 5-6. The out of division opponents that we have left are @ATL, MIA, NO, @CAR, and BUF. We would realistically need to to go 3-2 in those five games to have a shot at a wildcard at 8-8. I could see us winning three of those.
Taylor - It’s probably a bit of both, but this morning I’m inclined to lean more toward the former. The Patriots were indeed similarly dinged by illness and injury... but they were at home, with more rest, and still had Bill Belichick leading them.
Ultimately, I wouldn’t be super surprised if this Broncos team flirts with but narrowly misses the playoffs. There’s still talent here, and some of it is finally making its way back onto the field. Add back Bouye and Fant and things could start clicking.
Jeff - I don’t this is getting talked about enough. I said last week that Denver’s offense should be encouraged because Tampa and Pittsburgh’s defenses are really really good this year. That’s probably the worst we’ll see from the offense and the best defenses they’ll face all year - and Denver played Tennessee and Pittsburgh incredibly close. Regardless, I don’t think you can properly evaluate this team without Lock in the starting lineup - so I tend to throw out the Pittsburgh, Tampa, and Jets games as a wash. We learned some things about individual players, but I think Lock’s presence brings a stability to the team, even as his play is erratic. Just having your starting QB, who the team believes in, in the game is a big deal. So in that regard I think we’ll now get to see what this team can be and what they could string together.
Sadaraine - Entering into the season, I thought this team had playoff potential...nothing for sure, but if the team plays to their strength and gets some luck on the injury front they should be in the mix for a wildcard. But here we are and reality is that we’re having some really bad injury luck. To top that off, our offense is vastly underperforming. It seems that all the speedy weapons in the world don’t make up for a porous offensive line and a fledgling quarterback. No, the Broncos aren’t a playoff contender. I think they will be scrapping to get to .500 unless their quarterback or their line (or both) gel far faster than normal. This team scoring under 20 points per game isn’t going to cut it.
Joe Rowles - I have little doubt this roster is a playoff contender at full strength. Where we’re at right now I’d say a fringe contender. Well coached team with pieces to cause almost every team some problems.
How many wins do you see there in the non-divisional games?
Taylor - I could see 3 wins in that out-of-division group: ATL, MIA, & CAR. That’d leave the Broncos at 8-8, which is pretty close to the 9-7 many thought we’d be before injuries derailed the season.
Jeff - Atlanta is pretty awful, but Miami and Carolina are decent football teams, particularly if Tua continues to start for the Dolphins. The larger issue is I don’t think Denver splits their division games. I think they’ll be lucky to split with LA and LV, and won’t beat KC this year.
Sadaraine - I’m not sold on much for our division games. Every team in the AFC West is going to be a tough challenge this year. But for the out of division teams, I think we likely beat the Falcons, Dolphins, and the Panthers. It isn’t that those teams are necessarily bad (other than Atlanta...they really suck), but I think our defense is going to be able to win the day.
Joe Rowles - I don’t really like predicting it because injury luck and Covid make the weekly matchups so hard to foresee this far out. That said, I think the Broncos can win 9 of their remaining 11 games. I also think they can lose all of them.
What record will the Broncos finish with against AFC West opponents?
This poll is closed