Good Morning, Broncos fans! The AFC West is set up for a wild finish next Sunday afternoon, as the Broncos host the Chiefs and the Raiders face the Chargers in Oakland. Denver's only path to the playoffs is via the division title, but they have three ways of claiming it: 1) beat KC; 2) tie KC, plus Oakland ties or loses to SD; 3) lose to KC, plus Oakland loses to SD. As for the AFC's final wild card spot, Oakland can nab it with a victory and some help, but Denver has no shot at it due to victories yesterday by Cincinnati (23-16 over the Cards) and Tennessee (23-17 over Jacksonville).
How did we get to this point? Well, the Broncos came up pretty small yesterday, especially the offense and special teams, which combined to allow 21 points to the defense's 19 in a 40-14 loss to Buffalo. The 21 came via a punt return TD by Leodis McKelvin and two fourth quarter pick-sixes by Tim Tebow, although one of those could be changed to a fumble. As for the defense, they struggled to keep the Bills outside the 20 but stiffened up once allowing them in (Buffalo was 1-6 in the red zone).
The Broncos lost the turnover battle (0-4) for the third straight week and have given the ball up nine times over that stretch (seven of them by Tebow). They also lost Chris Harris to a pinched nerve, Quinton Carter to a severe bruise on his lower back, and Brian Dawkins to a reaggravation of his neck injury which is feared could end his playing career.
Video: Bengals’ Jerome Simpson pulls off the TD flip of the decade
Best flip since Gerald Willhite:
Monte Poole: Oakland Raiders find a way to 'win it in the end'
It was enough for Jackson to invoke the late Al Davis, the man who 11 months ago promoted Hue from offensive coordinator to head coach. “The man told me, ‘Hue, we will win it in the end’ and I believe that,” Jackson said. “I don’t know how it’s going to happen. But I know this much: I truly believe in the guy who was my leader, who told me that before he passed.”
Not only do the Broncos have to contend with a pissed-off Kyle Orton, they've got Al Davis bringing his supernatural powers from beyond the grave. Since we're well versed in Davis' powers of prediction when he was alive (Jason Campbell and JaMarcus Russell immediately come to mind), it looks like a Broncos victory is in the cards.
Broncos' playoff race comes down to three scenarios
If the Broncos beat the Chiefs on Sunday, the Broncos will win the AFC West with 9-7 record, regardless of Raiders-Chargers outcome…If the Broncos lose to the Chiefs and Raiders lose to the Chargers, all three teams would have an 8-8 record. The Broncos would win on common-opponent tiebreakers…If the Broncos lose to Chiefs and the Raiders beat the Chargers, the Raiders would win the AFC West by best record (9-7). The Broncos cannot win a wild-card spot so the Broncos would be eliminated from playoffs.
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the team;
Not an offense (or defense or special teams) was stirring, not even a dream.
John Foxball requires good field position and a positive turnover ratio,
Neither of those things happened today.
It doesn't matter who is your quarterback; it doesn't matter how much you believe; it certainly doesn't how many times you kneel and pray.
Football is football--even the night before Christmas.
Enjoy the games, everyone! Go Broncos and Chiefs! Inactive for the Broncos today are WR/PR Quan Cosby, S Kyle McCarthy, LB Mike Mohamed, G Manny Ramirez, T Tony Hills, TE Julius Thomas, and DE Derrick Harvey. Buffalo will be without WR Naaman Roosevelt, RB Johnny White, DB Josh Nesbitt, T Sam Young, DL Jarron Gilbert, WR Ruvell Martin, and TE Fendi Onobun.
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Let's take a quick pre-game look at how the Broncos and Bills match up:
Let's see how Tim Tebow's offensive numbers look after nine starts as the Broncos starting QB. Prior to the New England game, Tebow was 20th in the league in Adjusted Net Yards per Touch and 33rd in Net Yards per Touch, out of the 40 passers who had attempted 100 or more passes. While there are now 43 QBs who've thrown over 100 passes, we'll constrain the list to the top 40 players in terms of attempts:
Good Morning, Broncos fans! Pretty exciting day today, as Denver has a chance to clinch the AFC West today with a victory over the Bills combined with a loss or tie by the Raiders in Kansas City. It would mark the team's first division title since the 2005 season. The Broncos can also clinch at least a wild card with a win in Buffalo combined with losses by the Jets (Giants), Bengals (Cardinals) and Titans (Jaguars), all of whom are playing at home today and kicking off early.
The Raiders will be without several key players who did not practice all week - RB Darren McFadden, S Michael Huff, WR Jacoby Ford and DT John Henderson.
The numbers say the Broncos have a 48.04% of winning tomorrow against the Bills.
In other words--it seems I say this every week--it's almost a coin flip.
Enjoy the games, everyone!