Major news outlet gives Broncos coin flip chance of making playoffs

Denver Broncos
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Where things can go right... and wrong

The Broncos will need a few things to break in their favor if they wish to reach the 2023 Playoffs. In the same breath, they need to avoid a few traps to get to the finish line.

What can go right: Win out within the AFC (or in general)

If the Broncos win out the rest of their schedule, there is virtually no scenario in which the 11-6 Broncos miss out on the playoffs. The first tie-breaker that the NFL uses to sort out ties of three teams or more is if a team has swept all other teams in the tie. In the very likely scenario that no team in a three-team tie sweeps all of the competition, the NFL turns to winning in the conference.

Winning out in the conference and finishing 7-5 gives the Broncos a much more even playing field, if not a favorable one, in the AFC. Even if they lose in Detroit and finish 10-7, the Broncos still are two games over .500 in the AFC and will be in the hunt until the final game hits 0:00 left on the clock.

What can go wrong: Another 7-6 collapse out of the playoffs

In 2021, the Broncos beat the Lions in a crucial late-season matchup to move to 7-6, and put themselves squarely in the AFC playoff picture. What followed after was one of the more gut-wrenching Broncos collapses. The team went 0-4 to finish the season, losing the first two by a combined nine points, finishing the year 7-10. This led to drastic changes in the dismissal of Vic Fangio, the trade for Russell Wilson, and the disastrous hire of Nate Hackett.

The Broncos missing the playoffs wouldn't lead to the mass changes that the 2021 season did, but it could make the Broncos more aggressive in ending the Russell Wilson era and would be considered a failure by the organization, considering that after the team started 1-5, they gutted out the roughest part of their schedule to a 7-6 record, and are now in prime position to snag a wildcard spot with just one playoff contender left on their schedule.