On Saturday in Detroit, the Denver Broncos looked a lot more like the team that started 1-5 than the team that had won six of seven. The defense had 40+ dropped on them, the offense struggled to find any consistent success, and the game was more or less over by halftime. The game showed that the Broncos are still a far way off from the NFL's top tier of teams, but it did not kill the Broncos playoff hopes.
While they might have lost ground, the Broncos are still in a strong spot to make the playoffs, and here is why.
1) AFC only schedule to end the year
The main reason the Broncos' loss on Saturday did not derail their playoff hopes is the fact that it was a loss to an NFC team. The Broncos added one to the loss column but did not see their in-conference record change, which is one of the first playoff tie-breaking factors. The Broncos sit at 4-5 within the AFC, a solid mark but not one of the better marks of the seven and eight-win teams in the AFC. The Broncos only play within their conference to end the year, and do so against three teams that are under .500 and out of the playoff race.
If the Broncos can win out, their final record will be 10-7, with a 7-5 record within the AFC, and position themselves strongly for the 7th seed in the AFC. If the Broncos go 10-7, have a .625 winning record within the conference, have a winning record within the division, beat the Cheifs, and still somehow miss the playoffs, then so be it. On just winning out alone, the Broncos have a strong shot to make the playoffs. Once you factor in they would pick up some similar game wins, and the other teams in the AFC hunt have to play each other,