Oct 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos fans celebrate a touchdown in the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
As a public service announcement, the season for the Denver Broncos did not end on Sunday. If you have turned on a television, a radio or read anything in the days following their loss to the Patriots then you might think that the offseason has already started. The Broncos do, in fact, have eight more games starting with the Oakland Raiders this Sunday.
One advantage that the other major professional sports have over football is that fans tend to be more level headed. They understand that in an 82 or 162 game schedule that losses are going to happen and you can’t ride the emotional roller coaster that fans seem to thrive on with football.
The reality is the Broncos lost a football game to a very good team on the road. Granted it was the way they lost that has some fans on the edge but in the end losing to the Patriots in New England is not the end of the world, or the season.
When the schedule came out and I went down the game by game as every fan does, I had the Broncos at 6-2 with losses in Seattle and New England. If it makes you feel any better, I had the Broncos finishing at 13-3 and they are still on pace for that. The second half of the schedule, despite being road heavy, looks a tad easier than the first eight games.
A good friend of mine accurately pointed out that every playoff contender has been blown out at one point or another this season. The Arizona Cardinals were blown out by the Broncos, the Patriots were blown out by the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Dallas Cowboys were blown out by the San Francisco 49ers and so on.
Just when everyone thought the Indianapolis Colts were the team to beat in the AFC, they get blown out by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The point is that losing a game, even in blow out fashion, does not mean the season is over.
At the halfway point, the Broncos are in great position. They are leading their division and still have a decent shot at the number one seed in the AFC. The Patriots currently hold that spot but the tough part of the schedule is on the horizon. They have road games versus the Colts, the Green Bay Packers, the San Diego Chargers and home games versus the Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins. All of those teams currently have winning records and are in playoff contention.
The Broncos meanwhile have three upcoming games in which they are going to be favored fairly heavily to win. Again that doesn’t guarantee wins but it is very possible, if not likely, that the Broncos will be 9-2 after 11 games.
There’s no doubt that the Broncos have things to correct and they can play better in a lot of areas but remember back to week four when everyone thought the Patriots were done after getting rolled in Kansas City. Now five wins later, they are considered the favorite in the AFC. That’s how fast things change in this league.
The Broncos lost a game but they are right way they need to be at the halfway point and as pointed out before the loss to the Patriots, a loss to them does not necessarily mean the loss of home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs. The Broncos lost to the Patriots in 2012 and 2013, and still ended up with the best record in the conference. It may not happen that way again but given the schedule of the two teams, it could.
So step away from the ledge and realize that despite a disappointing day in New England, the Broncos are in a great spot as they open up the second half of the season on Sunday.