Broncos’ Week 16 battle with Raiders is a playoff eliminator
The Denver Broncos (7-7), coming off of a crushing loss to the Cincinnati Bengals (8-6), will face the Las Vegas Raiders (7-7) in Week 16.
Following their victory over the Cleveland Browns on Monday night, the Raiders moved to 7-7 on the season and kept their slim playoff hopes alive. Now having the same record as the Broncos, the game between the teams in Week 16 basically amounts to a playoff elimination game.
The winner of the game will move to 8-7 on the year and still barely clinging to their playoff hopes but the loser will drop to 7-8 and for all intents and purposes, be eliminated from the playoff race.
For the Broncos, that might be just as well considering how poorly they played on Sunday against the Bengals.
The Broncos don’t even deserve to be talking about the postseason with how bad they have looked at times this season but until they are mathematically eliminated, it will be a conversation.
And that leaves Broncos fans in a tough spot on how to root for the team.
If the Broncos make the playoffs, there is a good chance that Vic Fangio comes back as head coach. How many fans really want that right now?
If they make the playoffs, it will also worsen the slot that the team will draft from in the first round. Making the playoffs may not be a good thing, since this team is not equipped to go on any kind of miracle run at this point.
At the same time, you don’t want to lose to the Raiders… again.
Broncos have not beaten Raiders in two years
The Raiders have taken three games in a row from the Broncos and five of the last six. The Broncos have not beaten their hated rival since a 1-point victory in the 2019 season finale.
Even with a win over the Raiders, the Broncos would likely still need to find a way to beat both the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs to close the season at 10-7. Even then, they may need some help to qualify.
But that’s a discussion for another time. It’s Raiders week and the Broncos must turn their focus to that and salvaging whatever remains of their attempt to end a long playoff drought.