Of course you do, and what a finish to that Monday night game, with Sean Payton orchestrating some excellent clock management, mixed in with a little bit of luck. When Ian and I went over the game on Broncos Odds and Endzones we were impressed with the turnaround that the Broncos have made.
After that Chiefs game I wrote about the potential of Broncos making the playoffs, and how that might not be a bad futures bet at +800. Just a quick update, the line moved to +500. But that’s not what this is about, sort of.
Watching Denver go on the road to a hostile crowd in Buffalo and sneak away with a win felt great. It also indicated that whatever the method to Payton’s madness is, it seems to be working. That’s not to say the Broncos are back, but...
Look, the road is still filled with problems. The defense was good against Josh Allen and the Bills offense, but not great. There were a few gifts for Denver’s secondary. To their credit, they capitalized. And they kept the game close, even when the offense failed to capitalize on the turnovers.
But the Bills were able to run the ball in ways that look pretty embarrassing on tape. James Cook rushed for 109 yards on 12 carries. There were times he sprinted up the middle and the Broncos looked like they were trying to tackle the wind. Not exactly the image of a defense that inspires confidence.
Yes, the defensive turnaround since the Miami Dolphins dropped 70 on Vance Joseph’s defense has been essential to Denver climbing back to 4-5 and starting to find themselves on the bottom of the list of teams, “in the hunt” for the playoffs.
The Bills game was called a measuring stick by some. The questions about both sides of the football were, and are, still there. Is this version of Denver a nice mid-season run, or is it a true turnaround? Is Russell Wilson returning to form? Can he find the magic, like on his touchdown throw to Courtland Sutton, that will keep the offense in on every play? Can the defense keep up the pace they have set against KC, Buffalo, and Green Bay?
The devestation of earlier in the season has given way to hope. I don’t think anyone is ready to predict a playoff appearance yet, let alone a playoff run. However, this version of the Broncos is one that has a shot.
The schedule opens up a little, with a couple of tests, but also a few games that Denver should win. The Bills were definitely a big test, but the test isn’t over. Now the Minnesota Vikings show up with their own run of magic since Kirk Cousins was lost for the season.
Which team will continue to push for a shot at postseason play?