WE haven’t seen the Denver Broncos in a playoff game since Super Bowl 50 and they’ve made history since that game. The Broncos are the only team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl and miss the playoffs for the next six seasons. This streak is likely to end this season, even NFL Network’s Peter Schrager thinks so.
During Tuesday’s edition of “Good Morning Football,” Schrager made his playoff predictions for the AFC. After naming his division champions with the Bengals, Bills, and Colts, Schrager broke down the toughest division in football, the AFC West.
“Nobody is taking that throne from Patrick Mahomes yet. I still think they [Chiefs] win the division and I still see a bright future for the Kansas City Chiefs.”
Schrager then had to pick his wild card teams and he also mentioned that this might be the greatest conference we’ve ever seen in NFL history.
The first team Schrager selects as a wild card team, the Broncos.
“Give me Russell Wilson. The Broncos, that’s your first wild card. Wilson and Nathaniel Hackett are not missing the playoffs in year one.” Schrager continued, “Russell is in a good place, Hackett’s in a new place and I expect huge things from these guys. I think they might challenge the Chiefs for that AFC west title.”
Broncos Have to Beat the Chiefs
While Peyton Manning was throwing touchdown passes for the Broncos, Denver had beaten the Chiefs seven straight times before losing to Kansas City in Week 10 of the 2015 season. Manning was pulled midway through the game for poor performance and dealing with a foot injury.
From that game on, Denver has yet to beat the Chiefs in 13 consecutive games.
In those 13 matchups, Denver has been outscored by Kansas City, 373-213. The Chiefs have averaged 28.6 points per game while the Broncos have only averaged 16.3.
There are no more excuses from the Broncos losing to Mahomes and the Chiefs. Denver has had opportunities to beat Kansas City, but they’ve been unable to make that one stop or big throw to win the game. Remember when Case Keenum missed Demaryius Thomas for a potential game winner?
In what people call the toughest division in football, Denver has to beat the Chiefs if they want a chance at getting into the postseason and eventually competing for a Super Bowl.
Denver vs. the Rest of the West
Since the 2016 season, Denver has a 7-5 overall record against the Chargers including 5-2 in their last seven meetings. Los Angeles’ Pro Bowl quarterback Justin Herbert has a 2-2 record against the Broncos.
The Raiders on the other hand have also been a struggle for Denver. Las Vegas owns a 4-8 record on the Broncos since 2016 and have beaten the orange and blue five straight times.
Obviously, the Chargers went out and improved in the offseason and made moves for pass rusher Khalil Mack and cornerback J.C Jackson. It’s fair to say that Los Angeles understands that they need to slow down Wilson and Mahomes from scoring with their high-powered offenses.
Las Vegas on the other hand signed veteran pass rusher Chandler Jones and traded for All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams. After getting rid of their horrific draft picks from former general manager Mike Mayock, the Raiders also went out and hired offensive genius Josh McDaniels as their newest head coach.
There are some common trends if the AFC West, add pass rushers to get after elite quarterbacks and find elite quarterbacks to score points.
Denver isn’t the only team in the division that got better, but they did improve the most. After owning a top-three scoring defense last year and adding a Super Bowl winning quarterback, Denver has a chance to make some noise this season and hopefully end their playoff drought.