Nov 9, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) reacts after recording a sack against the Oakland Raiders in the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 41-17. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
The Denver Broncos may have lost the battle against the New England Patriots in a road loss nearly two weeks ago, but they should ultimately win the war. When it comes down to it, the Patriots own a huge trump card against the Broncos with that midseason victory, and the Broncos now will have to finish the regular season with a better record than the Patriots in order to take that number one seed back in a very tough AFC this year.
The Patriots play Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts on the road this week, a game they could very well get beat in. Luck has been unable to beat the Patriots, and was horrible against them in the playoffs last year, not unlike Manning a couple of weeks ago. If Luck and the high-scoring Colts can beat the Patriots and the Broncos take care of business against the St. Louis Rams in a sneaky noon road game, Denver will reclaim the top spot in the AFC playoff race with a record of 8-2.
Those are a lot of ‘ifs’ and the first and foremost order of business for the Broncos is to simply beat the Rams. That’s going to be huge. The Rams have actually played really tough football against some good teams this season, and they have a pretty scary defensive front. Still, this is a game the Broncos will be heavily favored in, and even if they need the defense to pick them up a bit, I think they can do that in this game.
The Patriots are very capable of going into Indianapolis and taking a win from the Colts, but Indy has had two weeks to prepare for this game and they are going to be really fired up. Not to mention, they are white hot this season with the highest scoring offense in the league. The Colts are a far cry from the 0-2 team that started off this season, now 6-3 and hungry to take some of that home field pie themselves.
In fact, if the Colts win this game, the balance of power will really take a huge shift this weekend in the AFC playoff race. A Colts win and a Broncos win would give Denver the top seed, and the Colts right behind at #2 with a tie-breaker over the Patriots. The Patriots would drop to the third seed and would have to go through either Denver or Indy if things look the same at the end of the season.
The Broncos coming to town was the beginning of a really tough six-game stretch for the Patriots, who are coming off of their bye week. They play the Colts this week and then host the Lions before traveling to Green Bay.
The Broncos play the Rams in St. Louis this week, and then host the Dolphins next week, which should be an intriguing game considering the Dolphins’ defense has been great this season.
Either way, this is a huge weekend for the AFC playoff race.