With three weeks left in the NFL regular season, the Denver Broncos have a couple of tough road matchups left on the schedule, with playoff-hopeful teams and an AFC West rival (Oakland Raiders) who would love more than anything to ruin the Broncos chances of possibly securing a first-round bye. There are a few scenarios that would guarantee the Broncos a playoff berth.
Scenario No. 1 is very simple; win Sunday against the San Diego Chargers and become the 2014 AFC West Champions. This will secure, at minimum, a Wild Card home game against the No. 5 or No. 6 seed in the AFC. San Diego is fighting for a playoff spot themselves and they know that if they lose, things will become more unpredictable. They would risk the benefit of controlling their own destiny.
Scenario No. 2 would be a Cincinnati Bengals loss, coupled with an Indianapolis Colts loss (and of course a Broncos win), which would give Denver a first-round bye. This scenario is definitely a possibility, since the Colts are playing their divisional rivals, the Houston Texans, while the Bengals are playing the Cleveland Browns (who will be starting the popular Johnny Manziel at quarterback at home). "Johnny Football" will step out onto the stage with all of the chips down.
Scenario No. 3 consists of multiple AFC teams losing, regardless of what the Broncos do on Sunday, in order to get a playoff berth. These scenarios offer slim chances and since the Broncos can’t control them, they're paying scant attention to them.
Furthermore, if the Broncos win on Sunday, and win out the remainder of season, they'll secure, at minimum, the No. 2 seed in the AFC and a first-round bye. Depending on New England and their final three games, the Broncos could possibly obtain the No. 1 AFC seed, if the Patriots were to lose just one more game.
New England has three divisional games left, starting in Foxboro with the Miami Dolphins (who beat New England in Miami in week one), at the New York Jets and at home against the Buffalo Bills. Something tells me that Rex Ryan will have a few tricks up his sleeve to get one last hoorah in on Bill Belichick before he gets fired.
The good ol' saying goes, “Don’t worry about the things you can’t control”, but for the Denver Broncos, it sure would be nice to have the coveted No. 1 seed in the AFC (for the third consecutive year). Everyone knows how tall of a task it would be to have to play in New England for the AFC Championship Game.
However, first thing's first; the Broncos must take care of business on Sunday vs the Chargers.