With the hardest part of the Broncos schedule now behind them, there is no question that they have the AFC west wrapped up in a nice little package. They are on a 3 game winning streak and they now have one of the easiest schedules in the NFL for the last half of the season. Having the easiest schedule may not have meant much last year, but with Peyton Manning at the helm and a defense that is coming into their own there is little doubt that they will roll through the rest of November and December and acquire a home playoff berth and a first round bye.
There are two games on the Broncos schedule that might cause a hiccup in their road to the playoffs and that is the Chargers on November 18th and the Ravens on December 16th. You never know with the Chargers. Division matchups can always be a tough one to call because of the emotion that comes with division rivalries. Not to mention the fact that Phillip Rivers can be a bit of a wild card. You don’t know if you’re going to see greatness like….well I don’t know if we have seen much “greatness” from Rivers this year, but the game he had against the Tennessee Titans was pretty good. However, there is no question that the game he had against the Broncos in San Diego was the worst outing all season. Blowing a 24 point lead and throwing 4 interceptions is not an easy pill for Chargers fans to swallow. So we will see which Phillip Rivers shows up in Denver next week. If Phillip Rivers and Ryan Matthews are on their games then that could spell a loss for the Broncos, but as well as Denver’s defense has been playing I doubt it.
The only other game that could give the Broncos trouble would be the game in Baltimore. It’s always going to be tough for any team to go into another team’s stadium and pull out a win, especially against one of the best teams in the AFC. Now I know the Ravens being one of the best teams in the AFC is debatable right now with all of their injuries, but they still have a strong offense and heading east to play an eleven o’ clock game is always difficult for any team from the west. Although, with Ray Lewis out, the Ravens defense just isn’t the same and Joe Flacco is a decent quarterback, but he doesn’t really compare to Peyton Manning and the numbers he is putting up this season.
So you have 2 games that are questionable, but still very winnable and the Broncos better win those games if they want to be considered legitimate playoff contenders. Beyond that, Denver’s schedule is as follows: @Carolina (2-6), San Diego (4-4), @Kansas City (1-7), Tampa Bay (4-4), @ Oakland (3-5), @ Baltimore (6-2), Cleveland (2-7) and Kansas City again at home. With a schedule like this and the Broncos “gelling” as a team more and more each week it is not completely absurd to think that the Broncos could go 8-0 for the rest of the regular season. Clearly, Peyton Manning is not having any problems with that neck of his and as long as he stays healthy then that offense will keep producing and Manning will keep having games with 300+ yards throwing. Let’s also give the defense a huge amount of credit for the way they have been playing for the last 3 weeks. Could we be seeing the Bronco’s in the Superbowl?