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Scorching hot Broncos control their own playoff destiny

The Denver Broncos are the hottest team in the NFL with five-straight wins and control their own destiny in pursuit of a playoff berth.

Cleveland Browns v Denver Broncos Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

Good morning, Broncos Country.

The Denver Broncos haven’t made the playoffs since 2015 when they went on to win Super Bowl 50. After starting the season 1-5, it seemed unfathomable that they would have a shot at making the playoffs. But after reeling off five-straight wins, which also hasn’t happened since their last Lombardi Trophy campaign, our favorite franchise is the talk of the National Football League.

During their winning streak, the Broncos have embarked on an incredible transformation. The offensive line looked like a major weakness to begin the season but have since become one of the better units in the league. All starters across the board have playing at a high level especially the past several weeks going up against top-notch pass rushers Danielle Hunter and Myles Garrett.

On top of that, their defense has been pretty good too. They are allowing just under 16 points a game to their opponents and forcing turnovers at an incredible rate. Major kudos are in order for Vance Joseph and his defense, who have really turned things around after their debacle on against the Miami Dolphins earlier in the year.

Moreover, it’s apt to give Sean Payton some respect. I think it’s safe to say the culture is changing in Dove Valley and their best football is yet to come. Denver’s red zone offense is the best in the league and Russell Wilson has been on fire in those situations. Let’s also not forget Courtland Sutton, who in my opinion, is playing better than he ever has—and that’s including his 2019 Pro-Bowl campaign.

The Broncos have just six games to go with four of those on the road. Next up? The Houston Texans led by first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans and rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud who has performed extremely well as a rookie. As great as the Broncos have played the past five weeks, this weekend’s game against the Texans might just be the most important of the season. Both teams are 6-5 and can’t afford to lose any ground in a wild AFC playoff race that has no shortage of teams hustling for the remaining spots.

It’s a must-win game for Denver who control their own destiny the remainder of the season. In my opinion, the team will need to at least win four of their last six in order to secure a wildcard spot. Winning on the road in Houston would give them some major advantages in tie-breaking factors that could very well determine who is in and who is out with respect to the playoffs.

After nearly eight years of suffering and despair, Broncos Country has something to be excited about. The team is winning, playing good football, and embarking on a revival that is worthy of praise and admiration. I’m looking forward to the last six games and truly believe the Broncos will do what is necessary to earn one of the final spots in the AFC’s playoff race.

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

Broncos News & Tidbits

Injury Report: WR Jerry Jeudy does not practice ahead of matchup with Texans, expected to be fine
Kicker Wil Lutz (hip - right) and wide receiver Marvin Mims Jr. (hamstring) were limited participants in practice.

Broncos designate WR Brandon Johnson for return from IR
The Broncos can activate Johnson as soon as this week, which would make him eligible to play in the Broncos’ Week 13 game against the Houston Texans.

Mile High Morning: CB Pat Surtain II selected to ESPN’s NFL All-Youngster team
ESPN analysts chose Surtain and Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner as their first-team selections at cornerback.

Suspended Broncos safety Kareem Jackson says he’s meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday
Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson said he’s flying to New York to meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday to get more clarity about his latest suspension and the way the league enforces its player safety rules.

NFL News & Tidbits

NFL Fantasy 2023 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Defenses for Week 13
Which defenses are facing the most favorable quarterback matchups? Is Denver's ballhawking unit a risky play? Check out all of Michael F. Florio's defense starts and sits for Week 13 in fantasy football.

Steelers WR Diontae Johnson owns up for effort on fumble vs. Bengals: 'It won't happen again'
Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson on Wednesday addressed a play during Sunday's game vs. the Bengals in which he appeared to show little effort to recover a fumble.

2024 NFL Draft: Top 20 Senior Bowl prospects of the 2023 college football regular season
With the 2023 college football regular season wrapped up, Chad Reuter reveals his top 20 Senior Bowl prospects of the year so far. Plus, he identifies 30 more players deserving of the spotlight.

Former Eagles receiver, three-time Pro Bowler DeSean Jackson retires after 15 seasons
Former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson is retiring after 15 seasons in the NFL, the team announced. The three-time Pro Bowler will be an honorary captain for Sunday's game against the 49ers.

NFL news roundup: Latest league updates from Wednesday, Nov. 29
NFL.com keeps you up to date with all of the latest league news from around the NFL. Visit NFL.com's transaction hub for a daily breakdown.