OK, so the Denver Broncos will be making the playoffs
October 5, 2016
OK, they're going to make the playoffs.
You all feel better, Broncos Nation?
After a 4-0 start, well, going 4-8 or or 5-7 ain't in the cards, barring anything catastrophic.
Although we might add, that bombshell nearly hit in last week's 27- 7 win at Tampa Bay. Be honest, Broncos fans. When Trever Siemian went down in a heap, didn't the season flash before your eyes just a little bit?
The injured shoulder in question is his left, the non-throwing one. It's still unclear whether he's playing on Sunday against Atlanta. (Siemian, according to multiple reports, did not throw in Wednesday's practice. We'll see.)
It's clearly not a season-ending injury. But it still exposes the uncertainty of the NFL. Things change in the blink of an eye. NaVorro Bowman tore his Achilles tendon during a non-contact play last week. The San Francisco 49ers stunk with him and will continue to stink without him, but that's a very good player done for the season just like that.
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Do you think the Broncos, or any other team in the NFL, have some magic juice stored somewhere that prevents injuries that can change the complexion of the season?
Don't be naïve, people.
It's why you don't make assumptions in this league. You can merely analyze trends, which is what we're doing in this space.
After four weeks last year, the Broncos, Panthers, Packers and Falcons were 4-0. (The Patriots were 3-0 and had a bye.)
At this point last year, Broncos fans were still assuming Peyton Manning was going to snap out of it. No one really took the Panthers seriously because the Packers were the team to beat in the NFC. And to be truthful, does anyone remember the Falcons being 4-0? I didn't. They went 8-8.
The Seahawks, Redskins and Vikings were all 2-2 in 2015, and went to the playoffs. The Chiefs were 1-3.
The Broncos are off to good start, that makes the playoffs likely, but assume nothing.
In the AFC, it looks like the Broncos, Patriots and Steelers for now. The Steelers' offense looks ridiculous. Is their pass defense enough? The Patriots laid an egg against the Bills last week. There's no sugar-coating that. But they were due an egg with their quarterback carousel. Tom Brady's back this week. Your trivia of the week is that Brady is 1-1 vs. the Browns in his last two starts.
The Seahawks and the Packers remain the class of the NFC.
The Vikings probably should join the above group, but I still have absolutely no confidence that Bradford can play a full season. Carson Wentz-mania continues as the 3-0 Eagles return from their bye against Detroit. He is not the second coming after three games.
Of all the 3-1 teams, probably the most surprising is the Rams. Remember how terrible they looked against the Niners in Week 1? Not just terrible, but super-terrible? Not sold yet, but it's why you don't go nuts after one game.
By the way, don't count the Panthers out yet.
One of the reasons we don't go crazy over Wentz is that he carved up the Bears. There ain't much love of Jay Cutler in these parts, but that train wreck is not all on him.
Do the Cardinals get better or worse without Carson Palmer? Probably better merely because they play the Niners.
On to Week 5.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.
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