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Can the Broncos really put together a playoff run?

After a bigtime win against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Denver Broncos enter the BYE week on a high note coupled with confidence. Can they embark on a second half of the season journey and make the playoffs?

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Broncos Country.

How many of you are still riding the high and thrill of our Denver Broncos beating the Kansas City Chiefs this past weekend? I know I am! On top of that—I’m more excited for the remaining nine games of the season than I could have ever thought possible.

After their big win against the Chiefs, the Broncos are now 3-5 on the season. That’s still on the outside looking in, but they do still have a shot at the playoffs. Let’s take a deeper dive into the playoff picture as it stands now with respect to the AFC.

The Kansas City Chiefs are the top seed at 6-2 followed by the Miami Dolphins with the same record. Those two teams face off against each other this weekend. Both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens sit atop their respective divisions at 6-2 as well. It’s highly unlikely that the Broncos will be able to make up AFC West ground against the Chiefs, but a Wild Card spot is still within reach.

The Buffalo Bills are first in line at 5-3. The Broncos play them next weekend after the BYE week. At 4-3, the Cleveland Browns also have a spot. The Broncos will face off against them after Thanksgiving. The Pittsburgh Steelers have the last spot as of right now, and like the Browns, they also sport a 4-3 record.

With that in mind, it’s quite obvious that the Bills [road] and Browns [home] games are must-win. It’s Denver’s best chance to play catch-up in a conference filled with quality opponents. The season has a way to go, but the outcomes of those games will have a significant impact on the Broncos’ playoff odds and aspirations moving forward.

In between the Bills and Browns games, the Broncos will host the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings are on a hot-streak winning their last three, but Kirk Cousins is out for the year and their season’s hopes rest on the shoulders of Joshua Dobbs, who was acquired from the Arizona Cardinals on Halloween. All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson should be back by then, but I’d like to say Denver has a lot better chance than we previously thought all things considered.

The Texans show some promise under first-year Head Coach DeMeco Ryans, but that too is a winnable game. As are both games against the Los Angeles Charges and the season finale against the Las Vegas Raiders, who just canned their head coach, general manager, and offensive coordinator. The other two opponents remaining? The Detroit Lions, which will be an incredibly tough game on the road and the New England Patriots at home—who by all means—aren’t anything to write home about.

In my opinion, a 9-7 record will likely be good enough for a Wild Card berth this season. That means the Broncos will need to string together six wins out of their last nine to make it happen. There margin for error is slim, but after beating the Chiefs—I think it’s safe to say this team can compete against anyone else on their schedule.

The biggest obstacle in their path is the Bills who they will play on the road on November 13 for Monday Night Football. If you thought the game against the Chiefs was big—this game will likely prove to be even bigger. If Denver is somehow able to secure a victory on the road and pull themselves to 4-5 on the season, expect all of Broncos Country to be bullish on their playoff odds the rest of the season.

No matter how it plays out, I’m excited to watch this team compete the rest of the way. How about you? Do you think the Broncos will make the playoffs this season? Post your predictions in the comments section and let us know how you feel!

As always—thanks for reading. Here are some articles to start your day for today’s edition of Horse Tracks.

Broncos News & Tidbits

Josh McDaniels makes NFL history after being fired by Raiders, Broncos
Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels is out in Las Vegas after posting a 9-16 record.

Travis Kelce laments offensive performance in Broncos loss
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce took to his 'New Heights' podcast to express his frustration after the Chiefs loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

3 Players Broncos Must Consider Benching amid 3-5 Start
Regardless of what happens the rest of the season, the Denver Broncos will always have Week 8. The Broncos 24-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs was easily the…

Sean Payton on Broncos ending 16-game losing streak to Chiefs: 'We're going to play in bigger games than that'
In Week 8, the Denver Broncos ended the 16-game losing streak to the Kansas City Chiefs. Broncos head coach Sean Payton says he's team is "going to play in bigger games than that."

Did Broncos do the right thing by standing pat at the trade deadline?
In this week's roundtable, the Denver Post staff discuss whether the Broncos' decision to stand pat at the trade deadline was the right move.

NFL News & Tidbits

Raiders' Aidan O'Connell to start over Jimmy Garoppolo moving forward after head coach, GM firings
There is plenty of change going on in Vegas right now.

Matthew Berry's Fantasy Football Rankings for Week 9 of 2023 season
Matthew Berry breaks down his positional rankings for Week 9 of the 2023 NFL season.

New Las Vegas interim head coach Antonio Pierce: 'I was born a Raider'
The Raiders introduced newly promoted interim head coach Antonio Pierce and general manager Champ Kelly on Wednesday.

NFL win-total projections, AFC: Chiefs secure No. 1 seed; Bengals, Browns join Ravens in playoffs
How tight will the fight for the top spot in the AFC be? Can the Jets sneak their way into the postseason? Cynthia Frelund projects 2023 win totals for each squad in the conference.

Jets checked availability of WRs Davante Adams, Mike Evans, Tee Higgins before trade deadline
The New York Jets worked the phones in the lead-up to Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET deadline, inquiring about the availability of Raiders WR Davante Adams, Buccaneers WR Mike Evans and Bengals WR Tee Higgins.