Can the Denver Broncos make the playoffs?
Probably not, but the AFC is not deep
So, you’re saying there’s a chance.
Yes, “Dumb and Dumber” might be the best analysis we have for the Broncos making the playoffs. The preseason might have actually helped the Broncos.
By which we mean other teams imploded. Think about it. Each conference has two wild cards. Whoever between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers doesn’t win the AFC West is one.
From which division is the other coming? AFC East? Hah. The AFC North? Pittsburgh didn’t make the playoffs last year with Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. The Lamar Jackson-led Ravens? Really, you’re going to hop on the Browns bandwagon?
The AFC South just went kaboom with Andrew Luck’s retirement and Lamar Miller’s ACL.
Could two wild cards come out of the AFC West with the Broncos being the second? It’s more possible than before. If Denver can squeeze up to 8-8, it could happen.
With the opener on Thursday — Packers at Bears, said in the John Facenda voice — we break down the divisions.
Kansas City, here we come. Will they be as good as last year? Probably not. Will it still be good enough? Probably. Yes, the Chargers moving up to Los Angeles was good for franchise valuation, but it’s hurting them on the field.
Fun fact: The Chargers were 7-1 on the road during the regular season with their only loss coming “at” the Los Angeles Rams. The Bolts were 5-3 at home, where visiting fans pack Dignity Health Sports Park, the new name for Stub Hub Center. (Can you imagine Facenda intoning “Dignity Health Sports Park?”)
Alas, the Broncos offensive line needs to keep Joe Flacco, upright. My bigger concern remains the secondary We’re going to find out about the Broncos early in the season after Week 1 at the Raiders.
Denver is home for the Bears, at Green Bay, hosts Jacksonville (that’s a test for the O-line), and at the Chargers in Weeks 2-5.
As for the Raiders, knock on wood, men, if you think they’ll finish last in the division. “Hard Knocks” has shown us how much of a pain in the tush Brown is and why the Steelers gave him up for third- and fifth-round picks. The best part of the series has been Facenda reciting “The Autumn Wind is a Raider,” in the opening credits.
Who wants to win this division? I know everyone’s hot on the Cleveland Browns. There’s talent there, and they get a break by playing the AFC East and NFC West on the schedule. (Six winnable games against teams not called the Patriots or Rams.)
It’s going to be interesting to see how the Steelers do with wide-receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and running-back James Conner as the undisputed players at their positions. How long will Lamar Jackson last as a running quarterback with the Ravens?
And the Bengals are still the Bengals. So the Browns win with a soft 9-7 or 10-6 record.
Jacksonville by default after the Luck retirement and Miller going down?
The end will come quickly some year for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Just like Peyton Manning or Brett Favre, Brady will fall off a cliff performance-wise.
We just all should live that long. In the meantime, The Pats may start 2-2 and everyone will be calling it the end of the dynasty. New England uses September as the preseason and it can because the rest of the division is dreck.
The Rams should repeat within the division, but not the conference. (Ye olde, Super Bowl hangover.) I will not jinx the San Francisco 49ers by saying they will be a wild card.
Eddy Pineiro is the new kicker for the Chicago Bears. Now that we got the easy rimshot out of the way, Da Bears should be pretty good this year. Mitch Trubisky looks like the real deal and the defense is legit.
The Minnesota Vikings come out of the NFC Norris — I miss Chris Berman — as a wild card.
Should be a good division with the Saints, the ageless Drew Brees and the entire state of Louisiana still looking for a pass interference call leading the way.
Do remember that the Falcons endured every form of injury except for pestilence and the Panthers generally do the every-other-year thing, this being a good year.
It seems that Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys are on the verge of getting a deal done, and thus, we install them as favorites.
Bears and Chiefs.