The Denver Broncos' 4-2 Record: A Matter of Perspective

No matter how you look at it, it's four wins and two losses.

After six games, the Denver Broncos and the Buffalo Bills both possess a 4-2 record.

If you took a survey of each team's fans, you would probably get a vastly different take on the state of each franchise. A Bills fan would treasure the fact that his team is a couple games above the mediocrity line. Fans of the Broncos, however, would look at that figure with less enthusiasm.

In the NFL, and especially in the middle of the season, records have different meanings for different teams. It's all about perspective. For a team that began the year on the skids, losing their first two games and enduring ridicule for firing their offensive coordinator, the Bills' explosive four-game win streak is nothing short of a blessing. Considering the last time Buffalo made the playoffs was the previous millennium, expectations are tempered.

But when you're the reigning Super Bowl champions, winners of four straight and the annual victors of the AFC West, a two-game losing streak is nearly enough to make the fans come unglued.

When it's all said and done, identical records mean the same thing. The standings are impartial; they don't care how you got there, or whether your team is trending up or down. It's just wins, losses, ties, and tiebreakers.

In other words, the appropriate time to freak out is not in Week 6, when a 4-2 record is good enough to earn you a spot in the AFC standings that's within close-range striking distance between of the top teams.

The concerns are all understandable. The defense is struggling in ways it excelled a year ago, the offense is near-crippled by a defective offensive line, and almost every game requires a comeback in order to win.

In last year's Super Bowl season, Denver's four losses were clustered together in a pair of two-game losing streaks, separated by just three weeks. In the 1998 season, the Broncos lost in back-to-back weeks to the bottom-feeding New York Giants and the flawed Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football.

That doesn't mean the 2016 Broncos are as good as the '98 team, or even last year's squad, but it does mean that a couple of losses aren't indicators of the apocalypse.

All emotion aside, a 4-2 record in the AFC West is perfectly acceptable through six games. Not to pick on the Bills, but two losses in the first six weeks is very much less than ideal when the New England Patriots are sitting pretty up at the top of the division.

But then again, when you're Buffalo, just a playoff spot would be enough to ignite to Bills Mafia into absolute frenzy. Rex Ryan would earn the keys to the city. For Gary Kubiak and the Broncos, a Wild Card berth would be a step down from the previous five seasons (dependent of course on what they make of that berth).

What's better, though; expectations so demanding that anything less of a championship is a disappointment, or a bar set so low that just getting into the tournament becomes a major achievement simply because the previous 16 campaigns couldn't pull it off?

Personally, I'll take the Mile High standard of winning. You just have to make sure you remember to enjoy the ride.

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Similarly the Oakland Raiders and their fans (I am picking on them) are over the moon about their quick start because thirteen years without a winning record and a revolving door of coaches and quarterbacks can turn any modicum of success into the headline of the century.

Remember, it's perspective.

It will become a shift from the usual standard if the Broncos continue to lose, of course. It's certainly possible, too. Denver may not be able to shrug off a losing streak the same way they did when their steady leader, Peyton Manning, was at the helm.

There's also good news. The Broncos have until Monday, October 24, to think about those last two games. And if that's not enough motivation, the opposing quarterback is an old friend by the name of Bert Hostetler. Wait, no, I meant Brent Osweiler.

DeMarcus Ware is also on the mend, and the Broncos will have their second home prime time game of the year, a type of game they haven't lost since 2013.

Those elements alone don't guarantee victory, of course. The Broncos need to find a cure for their slow starts on defense and the offense has to do their part to balance the time of possession by running the ball more effectively.

Should they accomplish those objectives, the panic will start to melt. As bad as they have looked, erasing a two-game losing streak is as easy as putting together a couple of wins.

Perspective is the difference between rejoicing over a 4-2 record and cursing it. The standings, though? They don't take it into account.

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Will Keys is an Editor for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @WillKeys6.

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