Broncos’ ‘Mini Resurgence’ Could Upend AFC Playoff Picture, Says Analyst

Russell Wilson and Sean Payton

Getty Russell Wilson talks with Sean Payton during the fourth quarter against the Chiefs.

ESPN host Pat McAfee believed the Denver Broncos officially kicked off the Sean Payton era in Week 8. McAfee’s compliments appear infectious as another prominent sportscaster has followed in hyping the Broncos.

Television personality and former NFL Network host Kay Adams has bought into Denver’s “mini resurgence” on the November 8 episode of her show, “Up and Adams.”

“They’re a win over Buffalo from moving right back into the thick of the AFC playoff picture. Seventy points on this defense. Doesn’t that seem like a long, long time ago?”

The Broncos’ 50-point loss in Week 3 does feel like an eternity ago. Rather than fire defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, Payton stuck by Joseph, and the move has paid off considerably. Adams pointed out Denver has played like one of the best defenses in the league after a historically poor start.

In the last three games, the Broncos have given up 15.0 points per game, the second-lowest total in the NFL. Through the first five weeks, Denver ranked last in points (36.2), yards (450.6) and rushing yards allowed (187.6).

Adams expects the Broncos to maintain their defensive momentum and “test a banged-up Bills team.”

“I think it happens. This game has a lot of intrigue and this team has found a lot of confidence. So do not sleep on the Broncos,” Adams said.

If the Broncos upset the Bills, Adams feels the AFC playoff picture will be thrown into “complete chaos.”

Broncos Must Neutralize Former Star for Chance at Week 10 Upset

If the Broncos have any chance of upsetting Buffalo in Week 10, they must keep Von Miller in check. The star pass rusher is facing Denver for the first time since he was traded in November 2021.

Broncos offensive guard Quinn Meinerz briefly played with Miller during his 2021 rookie campaign. Meinerz appears excited over the chance to play against his former teammate.

“The name Von Miller speaks for itself,” Meinerz told reporters on November 7. “It’s going to be cool sharing the same field against him. I know he’s probably excited. But at the end of the day, we have to go against the entire Bills defense.”

Miller has recorded zero sacks through five games this season. The Broncos legend has played 29 percent of Buffalo’s defensive snaps as he works his way back from a torn ACL.

Bills Game Will Determine Whether Broncos Can Rebound From Embarrassing Start

The Broncos have slim odds of making a miracle playoff run. Perhaps their dismal 1-5 start to the season will doom them entirely. Denver’s matchup with the Bills will indicate whether Payton’s team can turn things around.

Nick Kosmider of The Athletic thinks the embarrassing start will “ultimately prove to be insurmountable” regarding a postseason push.

“There would still be significant value in the Broncos posting a winning record the rest of the way,” wrote Kosmider in his article posted November 8. “Going 5-4 down the stretch would mean Denver won seven of its final 11 games overall to finish 8-9. That would be the Broncos’ best record since 2016 and would build momentum as they finally have relative continuity in an offseason.”

Kosmider is envisioning home wins against the VikingsChargers and Patriots, along with road victories over the Raiders and Texans. History is not on Denver’s side, considering only five teams since 1970 have made the playoffs after losing five of their first six games.

The NFL writer says the Broncos “didn’t perform convincingly enough to suggest there is a historic-type run ahead.”

However, Kosmider notes a strong finish could work wonders in Payton’s second year at the helm.

“In this scenario, the Broncos would still lament the poor start, but there would be real positives to build on as Payton prepared for his second season in charge,” Kosmider wrote.

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