Posted Mon Nov 26th by Jon Heath
With five games left to go, the Denver Broncos have a five-game lead in the AFC West. A win and they’re in.
The Broncos (8-3) can clinch their division this weekend with a victory at home over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5). Alternatively, the Broncos can wrap things up by default if both San Diego (4-7) and Oakland (3-8) lose this week, eliminating themselves from contention.
Next week, the Chargers will take on the Bengals (6-5) and the Raiders will take on the Browns (3-8). Denver’s best bet is to earn a victory themselves, rather than count on their divisional rivals to continue stumbling.
The Chargers could finish 8-8, or even one game better. They have done it before and the Broncos know it.
In 2009, the Broncos 6-0, needed just three wins to wrap up the division. The team stumbled to finish the season 2-6 as San Diego claimed the division with an 8-8 record.
These Broncos are not going to let that happen.
“It feels great,” wide receiver Demaryius Thomas said after the game. “We just have to keep going and our goal is just to keep winning and get to the big one. We’re going to take every team one at a time, take it week by week and just going to keep going and try to keep winning.”
In 2009, the Broncos did not take it one game at a time.
Former head coach Josh McDaniels had a chart mapped out of all the Broncos’ playoff possibilities, learning weekly which teams needed to win or lose to increase Denver’s chances of earning a playoff berth.
“He didn’t know any better because he was young and new to head coaching,” one member of the team’s staff recalled last December, when mentioning McDaniels’ 2009 collapse. “(Coach) John (Fox) is smarter, he has them take it one game at a time.”
The Broncos can control their own destiny by winning their seventh straight game of the season. And that is the team’s next goal.