Denver Broncos Still Have Unfinished Business
By Adam Malnati
The Denver Broncos big win against the Cincinnati Bengals was a huge moment for Broncos Country. Into the playoffs, and one step closer to winning another AFC West title, the Broncos are ticking boxes on their season goals list. However, there is no time to relax in a week 17 divisional matchup. San Diego may look like a pushover, but if the Broncos falter and lose the first round bye, the ultimate goal becomes almost unattainable.
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Denver flipped the script against the Bengals and came out like a group of blind toddlers in the first half. Finally, the coaching made real adjustments in the second half, and the game fell to the Broncos. It was a great win, and because it clinched a playoff berth, the smiles were just a little bigger. Still, now it is on to San Diego.
Make no mistake about it, divisional games are important, no matter what. However, the final game of the regular season has taken on a playoff feel of its own. Just like against the Bengals, the Broncos have a lot to play for against San Diego. Let’s start with pride. With losses to both Kansas City and Oakland, beating a bad Chargers team is the best chance for the Broncos to win the AFC West. A loss could hand the conference to the Chiefs. Unacceptable.
The Broncos have a chance to become one of the best statistical units in NFL history.
Along with winning the AFC West, beating the Chargers clinches a first round bye for a Broncos team that is looking to get as healthy as possible before the playoffs. And yes, I am talking about Peyton Manning here, and Brock Osweiler. There is no doubt that Brock has become the leader of the offense, but he has also been beat up. Both quarterbacks need to be healthy, giving head coach Gary Kubiak the ability to put the best possible offense on the field.
This is not an argument for or against either quarterback. Rather, it is an understanding that the offensive line is not very good, and healthy quarterbacks are going to be necessary for Denver to advance in the playoffs. The best way to achieve health is time off. They better not take it this week, so they can have it next week.
The defense needs to continue to get healthy, too, but that is not the only reason the defense needs to step up. They are on the cusp of history. The Broncos have a chance to become one of the best statistical units in NFL history. With a dominating performance against the Chargers, they could be the number one defense in scoring and total defense. Neither of those things have happened in Broncos history.
The defense has carried the Broncos to this point. An opportunity to clinch a first round bye should be motivation enough, but to etch your name in the annals of history will push Denver against a bad Chargers team. I can not remember the last time a week 17 game meant so much to a team that had already clinched a playoff spot. There are so many things still up in the air. All Denver can do at this point is take care of business. Everything else is inconsequential.
Next: Denver Broncos: Playoff clinching scenarios vs. Chargers