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Broncos postseason hopes are not dead

A loss to the Texans hurt the Broncos odds of making the postseason but their hopes are not dead yet.

NFL: DEC 03 Broncos at Texans Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Broncos' five-game winning streak ended after a heartbreaking loss to the Houston Texans on Sunday and they fell to a 6-6 record. This was a bit of a “must-win” game for the Broncos because their odds of making the postseason would shift dramatically if they won or lost. Unfortunately, they ended up losing, but losses by the Steelers and Browns softened that blow a bit and have them just one game out of a wildcard spot.

Right now, the Broncos are the 9th seed in the AFC at 6-6 and are one game back in the loss column of the Steelers, Colts, Browns, and Texans. The New York Times playoff predictor currently gives the Broncos a 21% chance to make the postseason. While this loss gives them an uphill battle to make the playoffs, all hope is not dead.

So let us take a look at the remaining schedule of the Broncos and the teams they are competing with for a spot in the postseason.

Broncos (6-6)

Week 14: @ Chargers (5-7)

Week 15: @ Lions (9-3)

Week 16: vs. Patriots (2-10)

Week 17: vs. Chargers (5-7)

Week 18: @. Raiders (5-7)

The Broncos have a favorable remaining schedule that includes back-to-back home games. However, they have two important road games coming up that may decide their postseason hopes before that point.

This Sunday’s game vs. the Chargers now becomes a “must-win” game. They cannot afford to fall to 6-7 and lose to their divisional rivals. Take care of the Chargers and get yourself back on track. The road game vs. the Lions will be difficult, especially with their run game, so that might be a loss. However, the final three games at home will all be must-win games against teams they SHOULD beat.

If the Broncos can win four out of their next five and get to 10 wins they may have a shot. I am not sure that 9 wins will do it, but we shall see. The Broncos can take care of business moving forward they still have a shot at the postseason.

Steelers (7-5)

Week 14: vs Patriots (2-10)

Week 15: @ Colts (7-5)

Week 16: vs. Bengals (5-6)

Week 17: @ Seahawks (6-6)

Week 18: @ Baltimore (9-3)

The Steelers have lost two of their last three games, have fired their offensive coordinator Matt Canada, and now might be without quarterback Kenny Pickett for an extended period of time because of this. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Pickett underwent surgery for a high ankle sprain and will miss Thursday’s game vs. the Patriots at least.

That means we’ll see Mitch Trubisky start vs. the Patriots on Thursday Night Football (What a gross matchup). Looking at their schedule, they have some winnable games but with Pickett out, who knows?

Currently, I have the Steelers on the outside looking in but Mike Tomlin has this team winning, somehow. This is a team that Broncos fans need to root against moving forward. An upset loss to the Patriots would be a nice start.

Colts 7-5

Week 14: @ Bengals (5-6)

Week 15 vs. Steelers (7-5)

Week 16: @ Falcons (6-6)

Week 17: vs. Raiders (5-7)

Week 18: vs. Texans (7-5)

The Colts look like a lock for a wildcard spot. Before their season finale vs. the Texans, they will likely face three backup quarterbacks and Desmond Riddler. So, they have that going for themselves even though they are starting a backup as well, but Gardner Minshew has been playing good football for them.

They are a scrappy team that continues to win and I could see them reaching double digits wins and locking themselves in as a wildcard. However, a collapse in the coming weeks would be wonderful for the Broncos so we will be rooting for that.

Browns (7-5)

Week 14: vs. Jaguars (8-3)

Week 15: vs. Bears (4-8)

Week 16: @ Texans (7-5)

Week 17: vs. Jets (4-8)

Week 18: @ Bengals (5-6)

The Browns are a tough team to figure out because they are now on their fourth starting quarterback this season. Deshaun Watson(out for the year), P.J. Walker, rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson and now veteran Joe Flacco. On top of that, their top-ranked defense has struggled the past two weeks and they are on a two-game losing streak currently. So, they look like a team trending the wrong way, however, they have a somewhat favorable schedule.

They have wins over the 49ers and Ravens this season so they compete with the league's best so we cannot count them out vs. the Jags and Texans. Also, the rest of their schedule is winnable, especially with their defense so they will be an interesting team to watch.

I am leaning toward them being a team that will be on the outside looking in because of their quarterback woes, but anything is possible if their defense starts playing elite football again.

Texans (7-5)

Week 14: @ Jets (4-8)

Week 15: @ Titans (4-8)

Week 16: vs. Browns (7-5)

Week 17: vs. Titans (4-8)

Week 18: @ Colts

Texans look like one of the better teams in the AFC because of rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud and appear to be a lock for a wildcard spot. They have a favorable schedule moving forward and should be favored to win their remaining games.

I bet they reach double-digit wins and will be competing with their division rival Colts for that 5th and 6th spot in the AFC playoffs.

Bills (6-6)

Week 14: @ Chiefs (8-4)

Week 15: vs. Cowboys (9-3)

Week 16: @ Chargers (5-6)

Week 17: vs. Patriots (2-10)

Week 18: @ Dolphins (9-3)

The Bills who are behind the Broncos currently as the 10th seed in the AFC face a brutal schedule moving forward. A road game vs. the vulnerable Chiefs, hosting the Cowboys, and their season finale against the explosive Miami Dolphins. At 6-6. they have little room for error like the Broncos and need to finish the season hot with multiple upsets if they want to make the postseason.

I think Buffalo will miss the postseason this year but they’re a dangerous team we need to keep an eye on moving forward. If they get hot, they could push the Broncos and others for a postseason spot.

Final Thoughts

If the Broncos take care of business and get to 10 wins, I think they can make it as the 7th seed. They have little room for error and cannot slip up against the Raiders or Chargers in the coming weeks. The Lions game will be a tough game but if they can pull that upset, that would really help the Broncos chances of sneaking in.

Right now, here’s how I see the AFC shaking out.

1-4(In no particular order): Dolphins, Jaguars, Ravens, Chiefs

5-6: Texans and Colts

7: Broncos/Browns/Steelers

I think that the seventh seed will come down to the Broncos, Steelers, and Browns. Steelers and Browns are trending down so the Broncos will need that continue while they get to 10 wins and just hope for the best.

Again, they face an uphill battle, but this team has gone from 1-5 in their first six games to 5-1 in their next six games. A close loss to the Texans in a game they should have won doesn’t make them bad again suddenly. Continue to play good football, beat the teams you’re supposed to and maybe pull another upset and you’re in.

Let’s see how it plays out. One game at a time and this Sunday’s game vs. the Chargers is an important one.


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