Looking ahead at the Broncos' schedule

The Denver Broncos' Monday Night's game against the Baltimore Ravens takes on additional significance when looking at the future schedule.

Standing at 2-1, with arguably only five creampuffs on their schedule (Raiders twice, Browns, Cardinals, 49ers) the Denver Broncos really need to win all those "easy" games. That way if they split their remaining tough games (Chargers twice, Chiefs, Ravens, Colts, Steelers, Seahawks, Bengals) they finish 11-5... which should be good enough for a playoff berth.

This makes Monday night's battle with the Baltimore Ravens a very important game. Why? Let's assume the Broncos split the season series with the Chargers and Chiefs, which is not an unreasonable assumption. Losing to the Ravens at home would then mean the Broncos would have to go 3-1 against the Colts, Steelers, Seahawks, and Bengals.

With only one of these four critical games on the road (at Pittsburgh), this is certainly doable, but the margin for error is small. In light of the New England Patriots' recent smashing of the Cincinnati Bengals, the Broncos running game should match up very well with Cincinnati. And we all know the recent difficulty that Mike Shanahan's boys have had with Peyton Manning and Big Ben Roethelisburger.

If the Broncos lose to Baltimore this coming Monday, failing to at least split the two games with the Colts and Steelers would spell trouble for the Broncos' playoff aspirations. That would make the home game against the Seahawks of huge importance, even though it is an interconference match.

The AFC is so highly competitive this year that a 10-6 record might not be assured of a place in the Super Bowl tournament. So if 11-5 is the minimum target, a failure to sweep the "easy" games will put a lot of pressure on the Broncos. Because for every creampuff they fail to devour, the Broncos will have to find a way to win against the best the AFC has to offer.

FrankinPhoenix is a frequent poster on the Broncos Hardcore Message Board.

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