Nov 16, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Denver Broncos head coach John Fox talks (L) to cornerback Chris Harris (25) during a time out in the first half against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
John Fox says there’s no need to panic.
Some in Broncos Country agree with the Denver Broncos head coach. I’m one of them.
Concern? That’s a different story all together.
The Broncos are 7-3, lead the AFC West and can still get home field advantage throughout the playoffs … with a lot of help.
The final six games just got really interesting thanks to the latest embarrassment – this time a 22-7 effort against the St. Louis Rams. Or was it no effort? If you’re keeping track at home, that’s happened two of the last three games Denver has played. In fact, if it wasn’t the Raiders the Broncos played, it could have been three.
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Of those last six games, three are at home. Despite the pass-rushing abilities of the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills and putrid offensive line they have, the Broncos should win all three. That’s not the concern.
The concern comes from the road games. Denver plays in Kansas City, San Diego and Cincinnati. As if Arrowhead isn’t difficult enough, the Chiefs will come off a mini bye after their game in Oakland this Thursday.
If the Broncos can somehow win in San Diego to go 2-1, they would finish 12-4. As it stands now, there is no way Denver wins in Kansas City. Not when you put that Chiefs’ pass rush against this Broncos’ putrid offensive line. This has another debacle written all over it. Hopefully I’m wrong, but historically Denver struggles in Arrowhead. The positive is the game isn’t played in December when the Broncos never win in Kansas City.
The point is: the New England Patriots would have to lose three of their last six games for the Broncos to get the No. 1 seed. New England may lose two, but not three. Don’t get me wrong, I am hoping the Patriots lose three of the final six but I just don’t see it happening.
If what I think happens in Kansas City does, home field advantage is then highly unlikely. If the Broncos lose to the Chiefs, they would drop to 8-4 (given they beat the Dolphins, which is no guarantee). The Chiefs would be 8-3. Denver would have to win out and it would be nice to have Kansas City lose two of their last five games for the Broncos to secure the AFC West.
The Chiefs play the NFL’s best Arizona Cardinals after Denver, travel to Pittsburgh and host San Diego to end the regular season. Those are the three games in which Kansas City will face a big challenge. The other is basically a bye since it hosts the Raiders.
The positive for the Broncos is if they lose in Kansas City and finish the season 5-1, they won’t finish 13-3. Denver is cursed when it finishes with that record (think of the playoff losses to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks).
So Broncos Country wants Denver to lose at least one of the final six games (tongue in cheek).
Of course, with how the Broncos have played of late, it’s entirely possible they finish 3-3 and 10-6. That may not get Denver in the playoffs. Imagine the fallout if that were to happen. People think there is panic now.
No, there isn’t reason to panic.
But there better be concern.
Nov 16, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams outside linebacker Alec Ogletree (52) reacts after intercepting a pass from Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (not pictured) during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams won 22-7. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports