Broncos 2015: Week 16 AFC West Recap / Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football


Dec 20, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Denver Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman (23) rushes the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders met on Christmas Eve, while the Kansas City Chiefs hosted the Cleveland Browns yesterday.  For my thoughts on these two games, as well as the Denver Broncos Monday night contest against the Cincinnati Bengals, please continue reading.

San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders: It wasn’t a pretty game but the Oakland Raiders did just enough to win 23-20 in overtime against the San Diego Chargers 23-20 on Christmas Eve.  Trailing 17-10 after halftime, the Raiders defense only allowed three points in the second half, and the defense also set up the Raiders for an easy fourth-quarter touchdown.  After Charger David Johnson caught a pass he was hit by Malcolm Smith and fumbled.  The ball was picked up by Benson Mayowa and returned 41-yards to the Charger 3 yard line.  The Raiders scored a touchdown and went ahead 20-17 after successfully completing the two point conversion.  After receiving the ensuing kickoff, San Diego was able to kick a game tying field goal, sending the game to overtime.  Oakland won the coin toss, drove down the field and Sebastian Janikowski easily kicked a 31-yard field goal that turned out to be the game winner.  San Diego received the ball but was unable to establish a drive and after four downs the game came to an end.  With the victory, the Raiders improved to 7-8, while the Charges fell to 4-12.  Next week the Raiders travel to Arrowhead to face the Kansas City Chiefs.  I can’t speak for all of Broncos Country, but considering where the Broncos find themselves in the playoff race, I definitely want the Raiders to win their season finale against the Chiefs!  

Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs: Johnny Manziel almost gave Bronco fans a late Christmas present by upsetting the Chiefs at Arrowhead but the clock ran out before the Browns could attempt one last play.  I thought the Chiefs would win this one easily but Manziel, more specifically, Manziel’s legs kept the game close; probably closer than Chief fans would have liked.  Manziel rushed for 108 yard which made him the leading rusher in the game.  The 17-13 victory was the Chiefs ninth straight victory and thanks to the Baltimore Ravens upsetting the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Chiefs have secured a least a wildcard spot in the playoffs.  No doubt, Chief fans will be (or should be) cheering for the Cincinnati Bengals this evening!

Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos: Kickoff is about 3-½ hours away – thank goodness! This is a must win for the Broncos – not only because they are in a sense fighting for their playoff lives, but they also must build some confidence if they do get into the playoffs.  The last two weeks have been horrendous displays of Bronco football; tonight they have an opportunity to erase all of that.  Up 12-0 against the Raiders; up 27-10 against the Steelers at halftime and the Broncos lost…. I still can’t believe it?   Hopefully the Broncos can build another halftime lead; unlike the last two weeks, I hope the Broncos can build on that lead!  The task will not be easy – Cincinnati comes to town with the 10th ranked offense in the league (367.3 YPG), the 8th ranked defense (337.3 YPG), an 11-3 overall record, a 6-1 road record, and a new AFC North crown.  The Broncos have shown up in the big games this season – Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots; both of which were at home and nationally televised prime time games.  Tonight, I want to watch the Broncos complete the trifecta!  In order to do that, the Broncos will have to play at the same level, if not better, than they did against the Packers and Patriots.  If the Broncos win tonight, they’re in the playoffs – eight hours from now I hope Broncos Country is talking about an awesome Bronco performance, being in the playoffs, and a shot at home-field advantage!

Go Broncos – beat Cincinnati!

Stay warm Bronco fans!