Nov 13, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian (13) against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
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The Denver Broncos are sitting at 7-3 going into the bye. I’ll be taking a look at their final six games of the 2016 regular season.
It is crazy to think that the Denver Broncos and the rest of the NFL teams have only six or seven games left in their season. With Week 11 beginning on Thursday with the Panthers vs. Saints, the push to the playoffs begins now.
As of right now, the Denver Broncos are sitting with a 7-3 record. Normally, this would indicate that they would be leading their division or a top three seed in the AFC Playoffs.
This year is different. The Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders have surprised me and also sit at seven wins at this point in the season.
Currently, the Chiefs lead the division with a 7-2 mark. The Broncos and Raiders are both tied at 7-3. However, (and it makes me sick to say it) the Raiders own the tiebreaker due to their win in Week 9.
Both the Raiders and Chiefs will catch up with the Broncos by the end of Week 11 while they play and the Broncos take the week off.
Looking ahead to the remaining schedule, the final six teams that the defending Super Bowl champs will be playing is not going to be easy.
In fact, it is believed that the Broncos have the most difficult remaining schedule out of all the other 32 teams. And it makes sense. As of right now, four of the five teams that they play (the team plays Kansas City twice) all have at least a .500 record or better.
It will not be an easy task, but let us take a look at the final six games for the Denver Broncos.
Oct 2, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) carries the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Week 12 vs. Kansas City Chiefs
The Broncos return home to play the Kansas City Chiefs for the first time this season. By this time last year, the Broncos had played them twice.
This will be a huge game as this could be for first place in division. It was such a huge game that the NFL decided to flex it to the Sunday Night game in Week 12.
Alex Smith will most likely be the quarterback for this team as he has recovered from a head injury. The last time the Chiefs visited Denver was not memorable for Broncos Country.
With players returning from the bye and injury, this will be a big test right off the bat. The Broncos could be in good shape if they can earn the win under the Prime Time lights.
Nov 13, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) runs the ball on a keeper during the second quarter of a football game against the Houston Texans at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Week 13 at Jacksonville Jaguars
This is the only week for the remainder of the season where the Broncos will not be playing a team that has a record of .500 or better. But that is no reason to take this game lightly either.
While the Jaguars have not played their best football this season, history shows that the Broncos have a tough time beating this team. Since John Elway retired from the NFL, the Broncos have lost five of the last seven meetings.
What is worse? The Broncos have lost three of four meetings against the Jaguars on the road all time.
The Broncos cannot afford to lose this game. Record wise, it is a winnable game. But anything can happen on Any Given Sunday.
The Broncos will also be reunited with two former teammates. Defensive end Malik Jackson and tight end Julius Thomas.
Nov 13, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) throws a touchdown pass during the first half against the Green Bay Packers at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Week 14 at Tennessee Titans
As of right now, the Titans are in the thick of the playoff race at 5-5. Perhaps this is the year that they can make some noise and win the AFC South. However, they have a lot of work cut out for them.
The Broncos must be careful against this team. They are young and have a knack of pulling off some upsets. This team just completely demolished the Green Bay Packers in Week 10.
Marcus Mariotta looks like a quarterback who will make a lot of noise in his NFL career. They also have a solid running attack with Derrick Henry and Demarco Murray in the backfield.
This will not be an easy win by any means. The team that loses this game, depending on what happens in the AFC, could be scrambling to earn a playoff birth.
This is especially true for the Broncos, because look who they play right after this.
Nov 13, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass against the Seattle Seahawks in the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Week 15 vs. New England Patriots
If you thought Week 14 would be the game that could make or break the season, this game could determine who gets the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC playoffs.
The Broncos and Patriots have been the class of the AFC in the past few seasons. The numbers back it up. One of these teams have represented the AFC in the Super Bowl the last three seasons, the two matchups in the AFC Championship Game in three years. Numbers do not lie, folks.
We could be seeing the first matchup between Tom Brady and Trevor Siemian. For the Broncos, it’ll be the third different starting quarterback that has gone up against the Patriots in as many matchups.
If the Broncos are at 10-3 at this point, this game could very well be a deciding factor in who gets home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The good thing about this game is that the Broncos will be at home. So, I am certain the home crowd will be rocking on Sunday afternoon looking to pump their team up against the most hated rival in recent years.
Oct 23, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) signals his team during the second half against the New Orleans Saints at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 27-21. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Week 16 at Kansas City Chiefs
The final road game of the year takes the Broncos to Arrowhead Stadium on Christmas Day. This could be the game that will determine where the Broncos and Chiefs go in the postseason.
Perhaps the one thing about this game that will make me and other members of Broncos Country cringe is that the team plays the Chiefs…in Arrowhead…in December.
It always seems that the Broncos do not fare well against the Chiefs when it comes to road games in December.
Depending on where the Oakland Raiders are at this point in the season, this game could very well determine the division.
This will be the biggest test for the Broncos all year on the road. If they can go into Arrowhead on Christmas Day and surprise them like George Washington and the Colonists did to the British at the Battle of Trenton, a playoff birth is in the works for them.
Sep 11, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) celebrates after completing a two point conversion to take the lead during the fourth quarter of a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Raiders defeated the Saints 35-34. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Week 17 vs. Oakland Raiders
If the Broncos and Raiders are in first and second place in the AFC West, this game could determine three potential spots. The division crown, a first round bye, and a wild card spot.
The division crown comes with an automatic home game in the playoffs. A first round bye means skipping the wild card round, or they can play on the road in the first round and most likely the entire playoffs.
Both teams could very well have double digit wins by the time they play in the season finale in Denver. Can you say another flexed game for the Broncos?
How crazy would it be if the AFC West crown came to the final day of the season between the Raiders and Broncos? I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it.
It will be interesting to see where these two teams are once Week 17 rolls around.
Oct 2, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) works out prior to the game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
These six games for the Denver Broncos is no joke at all. Anything can happen in all six of them. And in a competitive AFC conference, the Broncos cannot afford any slip ups.
With that said, I believe if the Broncos can win four of the six games, they should get into the postseason. But that is easier said than done.
This bye has come at a great time for the Broncos. It allows players like Aqib Talib and Derek Wolfe to get healthy and ready for the final stretch. Having all the main pieces to the defense will really help when it comes to football in December and January.
The one thing that I hope improves outside the bye is the running game. I have faith that Devontae Booker and Kapri Bibbs can get it done.
If the Broncos find a way to get into the postseason, C.J. Anderson could return from injury and we all know how well he performed in the playoffs last year.
The important part is to take it one week at a time and take care of your own business. Everything else will fall into place where it is supposed to.