Dec 28, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) dances following his sack against the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
A job well done. That is what should be said about the Denver Broncos final game of the season, and the season as a whole. When the season began, every Bronco fan in the world would have jumped out of their La-Z-Boy to say yes to a 12-4 record. Every player in the locker room knows how difficult it is to win that many games in a single season in the NFL.
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Peyton Manning said it in his post game press conference, “to win 12 games with the schedule we had was a good thing.” It was a good thing, and that may be an understatement. Look at any team in the NFL and examine their wins and losses. You will find big wins, and bad losses. The key to a successful season is to minimize the bad, and maximize the good.
Against the Raiders on Sunday the Broncos were able to do just that, secure a much-needed first round bye, and complete a season sweep of the hated Raiders. It is impossible not to call that a successful regular season. However, the question now is, “so what?” The regular season is a means to an end. For truly accomplished teams, the real measure of success begins in the playoffs.
…there is no opponent to look forward to, and the season is still incomplete at this point.
The Broncos test begins in two weeks. There is no easy question on that test, as each team in the tournament is battle tested. All of the AFC north teams in the playoffs have been in their own mini-playoff the last few weeks. Andrew Luck and the Colts are one of the best teams in the league. The Broncos will need to play great football to get into the AFC Championship game.
It is easy to start to look ahead, and this is clearly a time to recap the season. However, neither of those actions would be the right thing to do. Manning said it in his post-game interview, there is no opponent to look forward to, and the season is still incomplete at this point. The Denver Broncos have unfinished business.
The journey to completing that unfinished business began against the Raiders with a statement win, and securing that first round playoff bye. Now the Denver has a chance to heal up, self-assess, and focus on the next step in front of them. All that matters now is winning that next game. It does not matter who the opponent will be. For the next week the only opponent the Broncos face is themselves.