Will the Broncos make it into the playoffs?
By: Steven Johnson
How will the end of the season play out?
The Broncos are sitting at 6-2 coming into the last stretch according to previous articles. The last stretch of games provides more talented opponents and their bye-week as well.
Week 9: @ Dallas Cowboys
Coming into this week, the Broncos will have just faced off against another NFC East divisional team in the Washington Football Team. Having had their offense sidelined with the injury to quarterback Dak Prescott last season, the Cowboys’ play should look very different this season. Behind the trio of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup the Cowboys will look to lean on the passing game. The talented Ezekiel Elliot should be held to a modest game behind the Broncos line and a stacked box. This game should be decided by the Broncos’ secondary and the Cowboys’ receiving core in the air. Dallas on the defensive side should improve with the additions of linebacker Micah Parsons and Kentucky cornerback Kelvin Joseph. It will be up to Teddy Bridgewater and the Denver offense to be able to put points up to complement the defensive effort. As I am personally going to be in attendance for this game, my heart says a Broncos big win 32-17. Realistically as a writer, the score could very well swing Dallas’ way just as easily.
Week 10: Home vs Philadelphia Eagles
For the third consecutive week, the Broncos will be playing the NFC East in a matchup that brings them back to Mile High. The Eagles will travel to Denver to play, starting with second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts. The Denver defense will be able to disrupt the Eagles and their passing game with a young core of players. The Broncos will need to offensively take advantage of a weaker Philly defense that was ranked in the bottom third of the league last season.
The Broncos should walk out of this game with another definitive win. In the range of 27-13 seems plausible if the offense can get rolling. Letting the offense stretch its muscles against a team like Philly and producing should give them confidence heading into the last part of the season.
Week 11: Bye Week
The Broncos get a win this week. Late in the season they can rest up and nurse any nagging injuries they may have accrued. Any time to rest in the NFL is an automatic win.
Week 12: Home vs Los Angeles Chargers
This will be Denver’s first divisional opponent since the Raiders back in Week 6. As always, divisional games have a different air about them and this one could go either way. There is little doubt the Broncos have the defense to partially handle a rising star like Herbert and the chargers’ offense. The real question will be Denver’s ability to move the ball against the likes of Chris Harris Jr. Joey Bosa and Derwin James Jr. This will be undoubtedly another tough test for a young Broncos offense. Ultimately, the Broncos take care of business at home with a close win. 31-28.
Week 13: @ Kansas City Chiefs
A week after winning against one division rival, the Broncos must travel to Kansas City to take on Patrick Mahomes and the lighting Chiefs offense. While the Broncos were able to hold the chiefs to relatively low numbers for the offense overall, the nine consecutive losses have been due to offensive ineptitude on the Broncos’ side of the ball. Unfortunately, while the Denver offense should be showing signs of progress this season, it isn’t enough to beat the Chiefs at home in December. Kansas City takes this one 28-16.
Week 14: Home Vs Detroit Lions
With the addition of Jared Goff and the departure of Matthew Stafford, the Lions will look like a new team this season. What many are speculating is they will look worse without Stafford under center. The Lions are in an unofficial rebuild of the team that has lasted what seems like decades at this point. While individual players may be talented such as corner Jeff Okudah and running back D’andre Swift, this team doesn’t seem like contenders on paper. The Broncos have elevated to the point of beating teams that they should and put this one away early. Denver gets to pile it on and have themselves a day. The final score is a Broncos 40-18 win.
Week 15: Home Vs Cincinnati Bengals
The injury to Joe Burrow last season derailed any momentum Cincinnati hoped to build. This offseason, the Bengals focused on reuniting him with former LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase. The Bengals also took a lineman in round 2 of the draft, hoping to give Burrow more protection. While settled with their quarterback of the future, the Bengals are still in a rebuild. The defense features spots across the board with the most notable player being former Dallas Cowboys cornerback Chidobe Awuzie. The Denver Defense should get to Burrow enough to keep the score low while the Broncos offense gets in a rhythm. At home in Mile High, the Broncos should secure another win late in the playoff hunt.
Week 16: @ Las Vegas Raiders
The Broncos will travel to Vegas in week 16 at the start of three consecutive divisional games to end the season. At this point, the Broncos should be in the playoff hunt and all three will count huge towards results. The Raiders will be looking for revenge from the previous game and the divisional games are always the most challenging. Ultimately, not enough has changed throughout the season to warrant a change in the decision. The Broncos will sweep the Raiders and notch another win on their schedule 26-20.
Week 17: @ Los Angeles Chargers
Traveling for the second week in a row, the Broncos will face off with the chargers again within a mere six weeks since last time. Being in Los Angeles this time and the Chargers vying for wins as well, this game should be close. Fighting to play spoiler for the Broncos team this close to playoffs, the Chargers will come out fighting hard. Herbert has enough talent to keep the Chargers offense afloat and the Broncos offense will need to be firing on all cylinders to secure a win this time. Ultimately the Chargers will catch the Broncos on an off day and steal a win away in the last minutes. Broncos fall for the first time in several weeks, 23-20.
Week 18: Home vs Kansas City Chiefs
Leading into the last game of the season, the Broncos will play the Chiefs in Mile High for what likely is a playoff berth on the line. Denver will need everything they have to get the win against a potent offense with Mahomes. With everything on the line, the Chiefs will come in looking to either play spoiler or will already be resting their starters for their playoff run. The Chiefs will very well still be looking for one more win in playoff position seeding in the AFC. This last game could be a dogfight for Denver. Due to some Mile High magic and a roaring home crowd, Denver gets its first win against Kansas City in six years to cement a playoff berth for the first time in just as long. The chiefs still win the Division, but Denver has more to play for after the regular season ends.
Finishing up with the game predictions, here is the win/loss recap for the 2021 Denver Broncos:
W: @NYG, @JAX, NYJ, @PIT, LV, WAS, PHI, LAC, DET, CIN, @LV, @KC
L: BAL, @CLE, @DAL, @KC, @LAC,
Coming to the end of the regular season, Denver has emerged as a dark horse contender in the playoffs. The Broncos have lost all but one of the games they have lost to teams on the road, showing an immense home-field advantage with fans back in the stadiums. With a solid defense and an offense that puts enough together to complement the team strength, they build a respectable record of 12-5. The Chiefs ultimately take the division title, but Denver is now in a Wild Card position for playoffs. Expectations are back to being high for Broncos Country. All this predicting is subject to change based on individuals play and the team’s overall health. Barring injuries like in previous seasons, this Broncos team is leagues ahead of last season’s and proves it with their play and overall record. Broncos Country should get excited for late-season drama and a chance at a postseason run for the first time since 2015.