The Denver Broncos sit at 7-7 and are still in the thick of the AFC Wild Card race (the division title is pretty much out of the question at this point) but they no longer control their own destiny. That means that even if they win each of their three remaining games and finish 10-7, they could still be on the outside looking in.
Unfortunately, Week 15 couldn't have gone much worse for the Broncos. Now, they will need some things to start happening in Week 16. There will be several teams that we are monitoring in the coming weeks:
Cleveland Browns (9-5)
Indianapolis Colts (8-6)
Cincinnati Bengals (8-6)
Houston Texans (8-6)
Buffalo Bills (8-6)
Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7)
Looking at the coming week's schedule, here are some key factors to consider when watching each of these teams.
Cleveland at Houston
The Browns have put themselves in a good spot to get into the postseason after a great come-from-behind win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday. In my mind, they look better with Joe Flacco than they did with Deshaun Watson, P.J. Walker, or Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
The Houston Texans were able to get a big win over the Tennesee Titans on Sunday, defeating them 19-16 in overtime, In my opinion, that loss hurt the Broncos more than any other this weekend.
Key Factor: The health of C.J. Stroud and Nico Collins
The Texans were able to get by the Titans without each of these two players, but they would struggle against a much better Browns team. Tank Dell is already lost for the season, so the Texans are going to need Stroud and Collins back on the field.
Stroud will likely be recovered from the concussion he suffered in Week 14, but the status of Collins will be one to keep an eye on.