With just two weeks left in the regular season, the playoff picture remains extremely fluid in both the AFC and NFC. We thought we’d take a look at the AFC picture as it relates to the Broncos.
There was a bit of a shakeup in the standings this week. Of the AFC playoff contenders, only Houston, Denver and Cincinnati won. New England, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and the New York Jets all lost.
New England’s loss coupled with Denver’s win means Denver now moves to the No. 2 seed in the AFC and is in line for a first-round bye.
Currently, Houston and Denver would have first-round byes as the top two seeds. Meanwhile, the Patriots would host the Cincinnati Bengals and the Ravens would host the Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card round.
If the Broncos win out, they will hold on to their first-round bye. If the Texans also lose out, Denver could end up with the No. 1 overall seed. In other words, in addition to the Broncos game, the contest Denver fans should keep an eye on in Week 16 pits Minnesota’s No. 4 rushing offense — averaging 160 yards per game — against Houston’s No. 5 rushing defense — allowing 93 yards per game.
Here’s a look at who the teams currently in the top six — plus 7-7 Pittsburgh — have remaining on their schedules:
vs. Minnesota (8-6)
at Indianapolis (9-5)
at Jacksonville (2-12)
vs. Miami (6-8)
vs. Cleveland (5-9)
vs. Kansas City (2-12)
vs. New York Giants (8-6)
at Cincinnati (8-6)
at Kansas City (2-12)
vs. Houston (12-2)
at Pittsburgh (7-7)
vs. Baltimore (9-5)
vs. Cincinnati (8-6)
vs. Cleveland (5-9)
Below are the playoff-clinching scenarios for Week 16:
Houston clinches a first-round bye with:
1) HOU win or tie
2) NE loss or tie
3) DEN loss
Houston clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:
1) HOU win
2) HOU tie + DEN loss or tie
3) NE loss or tie + DEN loss
Denver clinches a first-round bye with:
1) DEN win + NE loss or tie
2) DEN tie + NE loss
Baltimore clinches AFC North division with:
1) BAL win
2) BAL tie + CIN loss or tie
Indianapolis clinches a playoff spot with:
1) IND win or tie
2) IND clinches strength of victory tiebreaker over CIN
3) PIT loss or tie
Cincinnati clinches a playoff spot with:
1) CIN win