As Hackett mentions playoffs, Broncos got absolutely no help in Week 9
Nov 8, 2022, 10:50 AM
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
On Monday, Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett mentioned a playoff push and a “new season” for the team after the bye.
While the optimism from Hackett is appreciated, the reality of the situation is far more grim. Particularly, what happened around the NFL in Week 9.
We told you about the games the Broncos needed to root for while they were away, and not a single one broke in Denver’s favor. Out of the seven we highlighted, all seven went the wrong direction, with the team the Broncos wanted to lose pulling out a victory in each contest.
In the early window, the Chargers took down the Falcons, the Dolphins outlasted the Bears, the Bengals blitzed the Panthers, the Patriots blasted the Colts and the Jets shocked the Bills. On Sunday Night Football, the Titans gave the Chiefs a valiant shot but lost, and on Monday night it was the Ravens defeating the Saints.
A peek at the standings reveals the Broncos are currently the No. 12 seed in the AFC, a full two games back of the No. 7 Los Angeles Chargers. In baseball, basketball and hockey, a two-game gap in the standings isn’t much to overcome. In football, especially with four other teams in front of you, that task is monumental.
The reality is, despite their head coach talking playoffs, Denver is going to have to be insanely special in the second half of the season to even sniff a postseason berth. A 6-3 finish to wrap the year up with a 9-8 record likely won’t be good enough. Nope, it’s going to take a 7-2 stretch to get to a 10-7 mark to have a shot.
With a road game this Sunday at Tennessee, plus a road game in Baltimore and two against the Chiefs, that feels like a long shot. The Broncos do catch a break that the Rams and Cardinals both appear to be two of the NFL’s most disappointing teams. Those games no longer look quite as intimidating as they did a couple of months ago.
Still, it all paints a grim picture about where Denver stands entering Week 10. They did it to themselves, and now will need a magical final nine games to pull off a remarkable turnaround.