It’s not official, but it’s pretty close. Barring a major collapse and a major resurgence by the Chargers, the Broncos are going to the playoffs.
After three games, this looked like a foregone conclusion. Then at the midway point of the season, it looked like a remote possibility at best. Then for the past four games, the prospect of a post-season berth has been a week-to-week roller coaster ride.
Believe what you want about how good you think the Broncos are or how you think they will fare in the playoffs, assuming they do indeed make it, the fact is there has been one huge constant in the last month: The Broncos have been a terrific road team.
The latest example was Sunday’s 34-17 domination of the Jets.
I must admit I didn’t think the Broncos would win the game; my guess is I was not alone. But there was absolutely no way I thought the Broncos would make it look as easy as they did.
Vernon Fox’s 23-yard fumble return for a touchdown with 8:41 left in the first quarter gave the Broncos a 7-0 lead and set the tone. The defense came up huge again by holding the Jets to field goal after Derek Lowery intercepted Jay Cutler in the third quarter. That field goal cut the Broncos’ lead to 27-17 but it was still a two-possession game.
Offensively, the Broncos took care of the football. They committed one turnover while forcing two. They threw the ball effectively early and that helped loosen up the defense. The result? Peyton Hillis rushed for 129 yards and touchdown.
The Broncos seized control of the game early and never let up. It was as complete of a win as they have had all year, especially given the quality of the competition.
The Broncos again showed they are focused on the road. Four games ago, they went into Cleveland when the Browns were much healthier and had much more for which to play and they came from behind to win. Then they handled an 8-4 Atlanta team that boasts the third-leading rusher in the NFL (Michael Turner). And Sunday they snapped the Jets’ five-game winning streak on the Jets’ home field.
That is impressive stuff.
But before I get too excited, I’ll remember the three consecutive home losses to Jacksonville, Miami and Oakland.
That is not-so-impressive stuff.
I’ll also remember the fact that while the Broncos have played some good football lately, they are also fortunate that the Chargers have simply faded.
It should be a fun December in the you-never-know world of the NFL.
With the Chiefs coming to Invesco Field at Mile High this Sunday, what do the Broncos have to do to get back on the winning track at home?
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