Dec 22, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (10) talks with quarterback Peyton Manning (18) as they walk off the field in the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
The Denver Broncos have the playoffs on the horizon. The eye test has given many of the Bronco faithful a bit of a scare. The offense, which is still a juggernaut, has not been able to get into a rhythm recently. Monday in Cincinnati was the worst showing for the defense since the loss to New England. The regular season is still incomplete, as the Broncos have one more mission to accomplish. Things are only going to get more demanding from here.
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However, there are some big positives that Broncos Country can look to heading into week 17 and beyond. A win gives the Broncos a much needed playoff bye. That can only work in the team’s favor, as they need the time to get healthy at some important positions. Julius Thomas still looks hurt. Peyton Manning could probably use a little rest for his arm. The defense has so many injuries it would take too long to mention them all, but think linebackers.
Every player in the NFL is banged up and hurt by this point in the season. The difference here is that the Broncos are dealing with injuries. A week off would go a long way to alleviating some of that. It would especially help the defensive side of the football.
Manning and the offense proved in that short time that they were still the most explosive offense in the NFL.
Perhaps the best thing to happen to Denver was the loss on Monday night. Playoff history has shown that teams that go into the playoffs resting players lose momentum. Without a win against a dangerous Oakland team, Denver might lose the first round bye. That makes the last game of the season meaningful.
The third quarter on Monday night was a major positive. Three touchdowns, and Manning was throwing ropes. Manning and the offense proved in that short time that they were still the most explosive offense in the NFL. The rain had stopped, and they took advantage.
The playoffs are not an easy road. There are no cupcakes playing in the post season. The Broncos can not make the mistake of overlooking any team. A win against the Raiders will go a long way to lightening the load, but the task at hand will still be a difficult one.
Denver can give fans the ride of a lifetime. However that ride starts in week 17 against the Raiders. It will not be easy, but victory can be that much sweeter with a tougher journey.