There are many involving the Broncos, who trail Cincinnati and Jacksonville by a game and are tied with Kansas City and the Jets at 7-6. The Broncos' easiest road to the playoffs would be winning their remaining three games, which includes a Dec. 24 home game against the Bengals, and the Chiefs losing once.
The Broncos say it's too early to look deeply into those scenarios.
"The only time we really study it is the last week of the year," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "All you can do is try to control your own destiny and win some football games and give you a chance."
The Broncos' 7-4 record in AFC games gives them tiebreaker advantages over Jacksonville and the Jets. The Broncos would win the tiebreaker over Cincinnati if they beat them in two weeks. Denver would not win the tiebreaker over Kansas City if both teams win out because the Chiefs would end up with a better division record, so the Broncos want to avoid a tie with the Chiefs.
A more pressing concern is how the Broncos have played lately. Their loss Sunday was their fourth in a row, so discussion about winning out and possible playoff tiebreakers seems a bit out of place.
"What's important is us getting our (expletive) together and beating Arizona, that's it," cornerback Champ Bailey said. "That's all we should be focused on. Everything else will play itself out."
--The Broncos fell behind 28-3 in the first half Sunday at San Diego, and former starting quarterback Jake Plummer was one of the most vocal and positive players in the locker room at halftime, many players said. Plummer was removed from his starting role two weeks ago.
"Jake was pretty vocal and trying to get everyone motivated," quarterback Jay Cutler said. "He's been great through this whole situation and he's one of our team leaders."
--The Broncos didn't express any outrage that the Chargers gave LaDainian Tomlinson a chance to break the NFL single-season touchdowns record with a 21-point lead late in the game. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said there were more than three minutes left, and he didn't blame San Diego for trying to score again.
"Someone not scoring ... wouldn't have been very professional," Shanahan said. "You want to give it all you got."
--WR Javon Walker had four catches for 52 yards against San Diego. He didn't have a catch longer than 17 yards, as rookie quarterback Jay Cutler and Walker try to get on the same page on deep plays.
--WR Brandon Marshall had a pair of catches against San Diego, including a reaching catch on a pass that was wide of him. Marshall should continue to be a big factor down the stretch.
--WR Brian Clark averaged 19.4 yards per kickoff return against San Diego. He has speed and has come close to breaking some big plays, but hasn't hit one yet. The Broncos special teams have struggled most of the year.
--TE Stephen Alexander had the wind knocked out of him against San Diego, but played the rest of the game. Alexander had one catch for 16 yards.
--OT Adam Meadows could return to practice on Wednesday. He has been dealing with a hamstring injury. The Broncos are optimistic about his playing status for this week but won't be sure until he tests it in practice.
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