The Denver Broncos are clinging to life right now. Will they be able to claim a wild card spot in the AFC after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers?
The Denver Broncos aren’t in an ideal situation right now, but the important thing is that they are still breathing.
At 5-6 after 12 weeks of the NFL season, you aren’t going to garner much respect. But one thing the Broncos will get a little bit of respect for is putting an end to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ six-game winning streak, and they did just that with a 24-17 at Mile High on Sunday.
It was a victory the Broncos desperately needed to keep their playoff window from closing permanently. But what comes next? Is making the playoffs even a realistic goal for this team? What will they have to do to get there?
One thing is for sure; they will need more steady play from veteran quarterback Case Keenum, who did just enough against the Steelers, throwing for 197 yards and two touchdowns. Keenum knows all about the playoff atmosphere, as he led the Minnesota Vikings to the NFC Championship Game a year ago.
Keenum will have to be at his best as the Broncos go forward. Luckily, Denver’s schedule is its friend from here on out. They have five games remaining; they play at Cincinnati, home against San Francisco, home against Cleveland, at Oakland, home against the Chargers.
Those are five very winnable games, with the exception being the Chargers in the season finale. If the Broncos go 4-1 to close the year — which they should if they want to prove they are a playoff team — they would finish the year at 9-7, and that would very much have them in contention for the AFC’s final wild card spot.
The problem, however, is that there are just too many teams battling for that final spot. The Broncos are right in the thick of the race, along with the Ravens, Colts, Titans, Dolphins and Bengals.
Denver’s schedule is in its favor, but the odds are not. Indianapolis is on a roll right now with five straight wins as Andrew Luck is returning to form, and Baltimore has now won two straight with Lamar Jackson under center.
The fact of the matter is that there is just too much competition, and the Broncos would need several things that are out of their control to fall their way in order to make the playoffs.
After that win over Pittsburgh, Broncos fans should keep the faith because you never know what can happen. But nonetheless, the odds are that this season will end in disappointment.