The Broncos won their third straight game Monday night by stunning the Buffalo Bills with a last-second field goal. That win put the Broncos record at 4-5 and may have resurrected a dead season. The tides have turned in Denver and the Broncos are hoping to make a playoff push. How likely is it that they will be successful?
The Broncos Are Hoping For A Playoff Spot: Is It A Pipe Dream Or Can It Be A Reality?
The Chances Of The Playoffs Based On The Broncos Schedule
Three weeks ago, the Broncos were ready to ship off all of their star players and tank for Caleb Williams. After the last-second win on Monday night, the Broncos are on a three-game winning streak and can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Their playoff chances went from less than five percent to a bit more than ten percent after the win. Though the improvement is spectacular and the Broncos are beating teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills, it may be too late to save the season.
The Broncos have eight games left. If they win the rest of their games, they can be 12-5 and surely make the playoffs. But with surging teams like the Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans on the horizon, the chances of that happening are slim. Realistically, if the Broncos keep playing at their current level they can win five to six more games this year. That sixth game is a very important one. If the Broncos win that sixth game, it would put them at 10-7. Using the New York Times’ playoff calculator, the sixth win would put the Broncos at a 90 percent chance of making the playoffs before calculating all other team’s records. If they lose that sixth game, their chances drop below 15 percent.
The second half of the season has started on the right foot for the Broncos, but the future is very foggy. If the Broncos can win when they are supposed to and sneak out a few more wins against tougher teams, their playoff dreams may come true.
How The Next Five Games Should Go For The Broncos
The next two games of the Bronco’s campaign toward the playoffs start at home. The first game is against the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings started their season similar to the Broncos, going 1-4. Since then, the Vikings have won five straight games and are looking to better every week. The Broncos and the Vikings will come into Sunday night’s game with the two longest winning streaks in the NFL. Though the Vikings are the hottest team at the moment, the Broncos should be able to find a way to win at home against a team with a new quarterback and a proven ability to lose games against teams they are far superior to. Next, the Broncos face the Cleveland Browns. Though Cleveland carries the best defense in the league with them, their offense leaves a lot to be desired. After losing their starting quarterback for the season, the Broncos should find a way to beat the Browns at home.
The Broncos should be 6-5 at this point. Their next task is to take a three-game road trip. These games will be the hardest, yet most important games on their remaining schedule. The Broncos will have to face the Houston Texans, Los Angeles Chargers, and the Detroit Lions. If the Bronco’s time away from Denver ends without a single win, their season will be all but over. Facing the likes of Jared Goff and the young superstar, CJ Stroud, will be the toughest task for the Broncos. If they can sneak out a win in either of those games, the Bronco’s playoff dreams will be more than alive. The Chargers are a different story. If the Broncos have any hopes of a playoff run, they will have to do something that hasn’t been done in four years, sweep the Chargers.
The Final Push
At this point, the Broncos will need to be at least 7-7 to make the playoffs. The final three games of the year are all must-win. The first game will be against one of the worst teams in the league, the New England Patriots. As Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe take turns throwing interceptions, the Patriots have spiraled out of control and have turned their offense into the laughingstock of the NFL. This game may have been a no-contest when the Broncos were allowing teams to put up 70 points on them. Next game.
The week after, the Chargers will come into town for their second matchup. With weapons like Justin Herbert, Austin Ekeler, and Keenen Allen the Chargers should be a top-ten team in the NFL. Yet, year after year they find ways to lose. Though the Chargers have had their struggles, it won’t be easy for the Broncos to top them. The game will, as always, be a shoot-out between the long-time rivals, but the Broncos will have to find a way to outduke them if they want to make the playoffs.
The final game of the regular season will take place in Las Vegas against the Raiders. This will most likely be a win-and-in game for the Broncos. Earlier this year, the Raiders extended their seven-game winning streak against the Broncos, beating them 17-16. Since then, the Raiders have had large ups and downs during the season. After starting 3-5, the Raiders let go of their head coach, Josh McDaniels. Since then, they have won two straight games. Though the team has had success lately, their upcoming schedule will prove if they are for real. Whether the Raiders are a good team or not, the Broncos will have to find a way to snap the seven-game losing streak or their late-year success will be all for nothing.
The Bronco’s road to the playoffs won’t be an easy one, it may be almost impossible, but as long as the Broncos keep winning there’s still hope in Denver.
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