The Idiot’s Guide To Understanding Every Denver Broncos Playoff Scenario
Luckily, or perhaps depressingly, the NFL playoff picture scenarios heading into Week 16 aren't nearly as complicated as they normally are. With so many teams dropping out of contention fairly early in the season, the playoff teams have pretty much been in place for a few weeks now; except for in the NFC East and AFC South divisions where the winner will suck their way to seven or eight wins only to be obliterated in the Wild Card round.
One team does have an absolute hot mess of scenarios though, and that's the Denver Broncos. As it stands right now, the Broncos could mathematically finish the regular season as the 1, 2, 3, 5, or 6 seed - or they could miss the postseason altogether.
It seems only fitting that their season could play out any number of ways, considering they started the season 7-0, lost Peyton Manning to injury and have since turned to Brock Osweiler, and now sit at 10-4 having lost two games in a row. It's been a wild season for the Broncos, and it's probably going to get even weirder before it's all said and done.
So to clear it all up, here is a simple breakdown of how each possible scenario breaks down so that you can sound smart and impress your idiot friends this Sunday.
BRONCOS ARE THE #1 SEED IF...
- Denver wins out
- New England loses out
In this least likely scenario, both the Broncos and the Patriots finish at 12-4 and the Broncos beat them out by way of the head-to-head tiebreaker. This scenario may not seem so crazy, until you take into account the fact that the Broncos have to play the Bengals this week, and the Patriots would have to lose to both the Jets and the Dolphins.
BRONCOS ARE THE #2 SEED IF...
- Denver wins out
- New England wins one game
This scenario puts the Patriots at the #1 seed at 13-3. The Broncos would finish with a 12-4 record, and even if the Bengals win in Week 17, they too finish at 12-4 and lose the head-t0-head tiebreaker to the Broncos.
BRONCOS ARE THE #3 SEED IF...
- Denver loses to the Bengals AND wins in Week 17
- Kansas City loses one game
In this scenario, the Broncos win the AFC West at 11-5 by way of losing to the Bengals and then beating the Chargers.
BRONCOS CANNOT BE THE #4 SEED...
Because the AFC South is so god awful that no team can come out of that division better than 9-7, guaranteeing that the winner of the AFC West can fall no lower than the #3 seed.
BRONCOS ARE THE #5 SEED IF...
- Denver loses one game
- Kansas City wins out
- Pittsburgh and New York Jets both lose one game
In this scenario, both the Chiefs and the Broncos finish 11-5 and the Steelers and Jets finish 10-6. The Chiefs win the division based on having a better division record. The Broncos would then drop to the #5 seed.
BRONCOS ARE THE #6 SEED IF...
- Kansas City wins the AFC West
- Denver and Pittsburgh both finish 11-5 or 10-6
- Jets finish at least one game back from Denver and Pittsburgh
In this scenario, Denver and Pittsburgh both finish at either 11-5 or 10-6 and the Steelers get the #5 seed by virtue of the head-to-head tiebreaker.
BRONCOS MISS THE PLAYOFFS IF...
- Denver loses one game AND the Jets and Steelers win out
- Denver loses out and the Jets and Steelers both win at least one game
In each of those scenarios, the Broncos, Steelers and Jets all finish tied at 11-5 or 10-6. The Steelers would advance because they have the win over the Broncos as the tiebreaker, and the Jets would nab the final playoff spot with a better conference record than Denver.
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