Well, that was one bizarre slate of early games–an oddity that will certainly be dominated by Matthew Slater’s ill-fated coin toss adventures with Clete Blakeman. That said, combined with the Chiefs’ struggles to win against the lowly Browns, what happened in the Meadowlands may not have been a moment for Broncos fans to laugh too hard.
But thankfully, the Ravens came through by throwing a major wrench in the Steelers’ playoff hopes by holding on to a 20-17 win. Pittsburgh’s loss satisfies half of what the Broncos needed this week to clinch a playoff berth (a Jets loss would have also sufficed).
But now, as the title indicates, the Broncos need to only win one of their remaning two to clinch a playoff berth. Even with a loss against the Bengals on Monday, if the Broncos bounce back to beat the Chargers, Pittsburgh will be unable to catch them even if they beat the Browns to close out.
While the Broncos can punch their January ticket on Monday, they cannot hoist their fifth straight AFC West banner that soon. In order to do that (and be no worse than the #3 seed) the Broncos need one of two things to happen:
- Win both games
- Win one, lose one, and have the Chiefs lose to the Raiders.
But while the Broncos can now absorb a Bengals loss and still get into the playoffs, they need that win to get the best seeding possible. If they lose, the Bengals would clinch the other first round bye, But should they defeat Cincinnati on Monday, the following seeds are available for Denver:
- Denver would need a win over SD OR losses by Cincinnati (vs. BAL) AND Kansas City (vs. OAK) to clinch the #2 seed.
- Denver would need a win over SD AND a New England loss (@ MIA) to clinch the #1 seed.