The Broncos' five-game winning streak was snapped after a heartbreaking 22-17 to the Houston Texans this past Sunday. They had the ball within the red zone in the final seconds but a third Russell Wilson interception, this time, in the end zone, ended their hopes for a comeback.
After their first loss since their Thursday Night defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs back in October, the Broncos now sit at 6-6. Still an impressive record to have after starting the season 1-5 but still a disappointing loss nonetheless.
So, let us take a look at where the Broncos rank in the power rankings around the web after their loss to the Houston Texans this past Sunday.
Winning Sunday could have done such good for the Broncos’ playoff hopes, as they would have held tiebreakers over three of the teams they’re jockeying with for wild-card spots. But Houston pulled it out late, dealing a blow to Denver’s chances. Late in the third quarter, it looked like the Broncos could eke out a victory after they had trailed 13-0 early. Russell Wilson suddenly was cooking, and the defense was lights out after a rough start, forcing four punts in five possessions. But Wilson threw the first of three picks in the final 16 minutes of play, with the last one coming in the end zone with a chance to win in the last minute. The defense put Denver in a hole early, and the offense couldn’t quite pull it out late. The Broncos might need to go 4-1 down the stretch and get a little help to make the postseason now.
Pleasant surprise: CB Ja’Quan McMillian
McMillian signed last season as an undrafted rookie and spent almost all of 2022 on the team’s practice squad. He played in the season finale and caught the Seahawks’ collective eye with a seven-tackle performance. McMillian proved to the new coaching staff this past offseason how much progress he had made. Vance Joseph inserted McMillian into the defense as the nickel corner earlier this season, and the CB has been a revelation. He has a sack, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in the past six games. — Jeff Legwold
The Broncos came back from the dead thanks to a five-game winning streak, but that took a lot of energy and the tank finally ran dry Sunday. They were plus-13 in the turnover margin during their winning streak. Against the Texans, that number flipped and the Broncos lost the turnover battle 3-0. They play only one more team with a winning record (Detroit), so they’re still alive, but they’ll have to get their momentum back.
Russell Wilson had just four interceptions on the season before Sunday and had gone five straight games without throwing a pick. His three-interception game Sunday came at a terrible time. The Broncos didn’t have much room for error and losing to fellow wild-card contender Houston puts them in a bad spot.
14. Broncos (6-6, No. 10): With all the other quarterback injuries, keeping Russell Wilson healthy could be the key to getting to the playoffs.
They are in the middle of a three-game road trip, losing the first to the Texans. They can’t afford to lose this week to the Chargers or they are in big trouble.
Russell Wilson has played serviceable football under Sean Payton, but still isn’t the guy the Broncos thought they were trading for. Wilson wasn’t bad in the loss to Houston, but the Broncos left big plays on the field. They’ve only exceeded 300 yards of offense once in six weeks.
If the Denver Broncos do not go all game without converting a third down and don’t lose the turnover battle three-to-nil, there is a good chance they come away with their sixth consecutive victory against the Texans.
Russell Wilson’s game-ending interception was brutal, but he had done an unbelievable job avoiding what would have been a game-ending sack
I don’t feel any differently about the Broncos after their loss to the Texans than I did before Week 13. In many ways, they looked the same in that game as they did during their five-game winning streak. Russell Wilson made some plays with his legs. Courtland Sutton provided explosive plays in the passing game. And the defense was a little boom or bust. The difference? Turnovers. Those didn’t go the Broncos’ way in this game; Wilson threw three interceptions. Their monstrous turnover advantage over the previous five weeks was bound to catch up with them eventually. I don’t think the Broncos are a playoff team, but they’re well-coached and feisty. They should be in every game the rest of the way. —Sheil Kapadia
The Broncos got sloppy offensively for the first time in a while with Russell Wilson under Sean Payton and their defense continues to give up too many chunks vs. the run and a few too many big pass plays. The Texans’ loss was a brutal blow.