Happy New Year everyone! The Broncos clinched the AFC’s top seed for the second straight year on Sunday. This assures the Broncos of having a first-round bye and home games for as long as they are in the playoffs. They led the Raiders 31-0 at halftime and then rested many of their starters, which should help to get the team fully healthy for the Divisional Round of the playoffs. The Broncos played very well and looked like they very well could’ve put up 50 points again if they had kept the starters in the whole game.
Both the Broncos, and Peyton Manning specifically, had a record setting afternoon. The Broncos broke the record for most points scored in the regular season for any team in NFL history. Manning added to his record for most passing touchdowns in a season while breaking the record for most passing yards in a season. There was a lot to like about Sunday’s game for Broncos fans.
The Broncos will have the Wild Card weekend off to get healthy. The Broncos will play either the Colts, Chiefs, or Chargers the following week in Denver. The Broncos have played all three teams this year and went 2-0 against the Chiefs, 1-1 against the Chargers, and 0-1 against the Colts. Here are my predictions for what will happen in the AFC Wild Card Round.
Chiefs at Colts
The Chiefs have had a great year this year and Andy Reid has done a very good job turning the Chiefs around. Taking a team from 2-14 to the playoffs in just one year is remarkable. The Chiefs and Colts will meet for the second time in three weeks. The Colts beat the Chiefs in their Week 16 matchup at Arrowhead. The Chiefs defense has not been nearly as strong towards the end of the year as they were in the beginning. I believe that the Colts getting their “feet wet” in the playoffs last year helped develop them as a team. They have shown up in some big games this year, like beating the 49ers in San Francisco and also beating the Seahawks and Broncos, but they have had some duds too, like getting destroyed at home by the Rams. I think after getting bounced in the first round of the playoffs last year, Andrew Luck is ready to step up and get the Colts a playoff win at home.
Chargers at Bengals
This game is a tough one to pick. Which Bengals team will show up? Which Chargers team will show up? Both teams have looked dominant at times this season and both teams have looked very bad at times. The Chargers sure seem like the type of team that makes a run at the end of the season. If they play the way they did Sunday against the Chiefs backups, where they just squeaked out a win, they will not make it past the Bengals. If they control the clock and play the way they did against the Broncos a couple of weeks ago they could easily knock off the Bengals. The Bengals finally are getting a home playoff game and I don’t think they will miss the opportunity to move on.