Bronco Fan Rooting Guide: Week 13

A while ago we used to get posts each week about who to root for in each game to best maximize the Broncos chances of success. While less fun in down seasons, I figured I'd try and keep things rolling. This won't include every matchup, like NFC only matches, though they may matter for tie-breakers, rather focusing on AFC teams. 538 also has a fun simulator to see how the outcome of each game impacts their playoff projections so I'll be using that and Football Outsiders as well. So here is Week 13's rooting guide if you are a Bronco fan:

Note: each fan has personal tastes and while rooting for one team or another may be against your fan code, which I understand, this is purely who fans should root for to increase the chances the Broncos make the playoffs.

New England at Buffalo

Both of these teams are competing for the division crown which means the other is likely looking at one of the three Wild Card spots. The Patriots have 8 wins and the Bills 7, both more than the Broncos. While I'd say take your pick, there is a chance that a Bills loss at home may send them spiraling, at least that is more likely than a Pats team deflating. So by only a small margin, I say root for the Pats to win.

What do the probabilities say: 538 has the Broncos gaining 2% chance of making the playoffs if the Pats winning while they see no change if the Bills win

Baltimore at Pittsburgh

Another matchup of teams in the hunt for their division crown with the loser in the Wild Card scrum. The Ravens seem the better team, though neither team looked great last week. In the end a Steelers win puts them just behind the Broncos by half a game while a Ravens win likely locks them into either the AFC North division champ spot or a Wild Card slot. While the Ravens winning makes it nearly impossible to knock the Ravens out of a playoff spot, the Steelers winning makes the Wild Card more competitive so I say root for the Ravens.

What do the probabilities say: The Broncos see a 1% improvement if the Ravens win and no change if the Steelers win.

Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati

Both teams are a game behind their division leaders and are likely to be in the hunt for the playoffs regardless of a loss in this game. Neither team is the picture of consistency, both have young coaches and QB's and a loss might put one team on a downward spiral. But when it comes to a divisional foe against another Wild Card opponent, I feel you've got to root for the non-divisional team so go Bengals.

What do the probabilities say: The Broncos probability of the making the playoffs is unchanged regardless of who wins, which shows how important this game is for each team but the Broncos are not impacted much.

Jacksonville at Los Angeles Rams

The Jags aren't in the playoff so the only thing that matters here is if you are talking draft spot and then I could see wanting the Jags to win if the Broncos season tanks then maybe the Broncos could potentially end up with the better spot in the draft. It would be a long shot bet but hey, if it tickles your fancy but feel free to take your personal pick.

What do the probabilities say: No impact on the playoff race.

Indianapolis at Houston

The Colts are in the thick of it for the final Wild Card spot despite their inconsistency and recent loss to the Bucs while the Texans are in full rebuild, the plucky underdog. This one isn't too hard of a pick, the Colts have a solid team and are on the hunt for a Wild Card spot, a loss would be a huge blow for a team fighting for the life while a win would only make a crowded Wild Card field harder to escape from. Root Texans.

What do the probabilities say: If the Colts win then nothing changes for the Broncos while a Texan win boost the Broncos 4%.

Washington at Las Vegas

This one isn't too tough, an AFC division rival who is in the playoff race against an NFC team, go Washington.

What do the probabilities say: The Raiders winning doesn't move the needle for the Broncos one way or another while Washington winning improves the Broncos chances of making the playoffs by 2%.

Philadelphia at the New York Jets

No real impact other than the tiny chance of changing the draft board so personal preference on this one.

What do the probabilities say: No impact on the playoff race.

New York Giants at Miami

While the Dolphins are a long shot to make the playoffs, a win would only make things more crowded for the AFC and the Broncs don't' want that so cheer for the Giants.

What do the probabilities say: A Dolphins loss only grants the Broncos a 1% increase in probability of making the playoffs while a Miami win has no impact.

In the end, there are three big games that impact the Broncos and it is basically the AFC Wild Card field beating themselves up. A lot will come down the if the Broncos win or not but what happens outside of Kansas City still has an impact. The ball is very much in the Broncos court, and with a brutal Wild Card race coming up, it could be a blood bath in the AFC, and especially in the AFC West, this time next week.

Now that I've said my piece, who are you rooting for this week? Cheering on the teams that help the Broncos most? Maybe putting your fan hopes behind teams you want to see crush hated rivals? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR.