Another week, another worst case scenario for the Broncos–though at least this week it wasn’t quite as unexpected. When this happens, there’s not much that changes, so I’ll keep things real brief here to review.
- To clinch the AFC West, the Broncos need a win AND a Chiefs loss to the Browns.
- To clinch a playoff berth, the Broncos need a win AND EITHER a Steelers loss to the Ravens OR a Jets loss to the Patriots.
- If the Chiefs, Steelers, and Jets all win out, and the Broncos go 1-1, the Broncos are eliminated despite holding an 11-5 record.
Given this, I want to address what Broncos fans ought to be thinking about for the Patriots/Jets game next Sunday. A Patriots win would take the Broncos out of contention for the #1 seed. But a Jets win, coupled with Steelers and Chiefs wins against the dreck of the AFC North, would mean that the Broncos would lose control of their destiny for even a playoff berth if they lost to the Bengals on Monday. A Jets loss would guarantee that the Broncos can still get in with just a Week 17 win. So while it may be instinctual at this point to root against Belichick, Brady, and McDaniels, be careful what you wish for.