There's really no way to overstate the importance of the Denver Broncos Week 13 game versus the Houston Texans. This is the most important game in the post-Manning era. This should be treated like a playoff game for the Denver Broncos. All of a sudden, the team is now 6-5 and firmly in the playoff race in the AFC with massive tiebreakers over the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns.
And this next stretch of games, all on the road, will really make or break the Broncos season. If they only won one game of this three-game road stretch, it's got to come in Week 13 versus the Houston Texans, another team also 6-5 and battling for a playoff spot in the AFC.
Right now, the Texans hold the eighth seed in the AFC playoff race. The Broncos hold the ninth seed. If Denver could beat the Texans on Sunday, they'd leap over them in the standings and would be no worse than the eighth-seed at 7-5. The seventh seed is currently held by the Indianapolis Colts, who face the Tennessee Titans this week.
If my math serves me correctly, the Denver Broncos could jump into the sixth seed in the AFC with a win in Week 13. This would have to warrant the Browns losing to the Los Angeles Rams and the Colts losing to the Titans. The Pittsburgh Steelers are 7-4 and play the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13, but they own a better divisional record than Denver, so the Broncos could not hop over Pittsburgh in Week 13.
But, back to my main point. This is the most crucial game for the team in the post-Manning era. In what was becoming a lost season, the Denver Broncos finally clicked. They established their team identity on offense and finally turned the corner on defense. Right now, Denver is riding the longest winning streak in the NFL. They and the Philadelphia Eagles have both won five games in a row.
And for the Broncos to potentially get into a playoff spot after Week 13 would clearly not finish the job, but it would give Denver another tiebreaker over an AFC playoff hopeful and would continue to establish them within the NFL.
During the team's five-game winning streak, they've played four games at home. Obviously, this would be their first road game in about three weeks, and the Texans are no slouch. I think a lot of people within the NFL landscape are still reserving judgement with the Denver Broncos given their four home games in the last five weeks.
Well, Denver can certainly silence some critics by going on the road in Houston and getting a huge win. It's also an emotional thing for the team and most of Broncos Country. Getting to 7-5 would be their best record this late in a season since 2016, when they were 8-4 in their first 12 games.
Folks, this is a huge, huge game for the Denver Broncos organization.