The Denver Broncos are in trouble if they entertain hopes of making the NFL playoffs and going on to defend their Super Bowl championship from a year ago. Heading into the bulk of Week 16 action, Denver are 8-6 and they are currently outside of the Wild Card picture. Furthermore, there is no scenario where they can win their division so Denver must get back into the Wild Card picture if they are to have any chance of making the post-season.

Denver's main antagonist is Miami

Denver fans will be paying close attention to the Miami Dolphins, currently the 2nd Wild Card team in the AFC at 9-5. The good news for Denver fans is that Miami actually has a difficult schedule in the remaining weeks.

Miami will face Buffalo in Buffalo in Week 16 and then the Dolphins will face New England in the final week. Buffalo themselves are trying to stay relevant in the post-season picture while New England may need a win in the final week to guarantee top spot in the AFC standings and home-field advantage through that conference's playoffs. Miami finishing the season 9-7 or 10-6 is certainly not out of the question.

But Denver's upcoming games are much more difficult than Miami's in my view. Firstly, the Broncos are heading to Kansas City to face the 10-4 Chiefs. In Week 17, Denver will face the currently 11-3 Oakland Raiders in a game from Colorado. While Denver are fortunate to host the final game of the season, the Raiders are a strong road team that might need to win to improve their own playoff hopes with a win.

In truth, Denver's chances do not look great as they trail Miami by a win and the Broncos have what I think is a more difficult schedule remaining.

What to watch for if you pull for Denver

If you are a Denver fan then on top of your hopes for the Broncos to win you are obviously hoping for Miami to lose.

However, things are much more complicated than just a two-horse race for one spot. Furthermore, you would want the 8-6 Baltimore Ravens to lose as well as the 8-6 Tennessee Titans. Other teams are in fact in the mix and tiebreaker scenarios, which are complex, may work into the playoff picture. However, tiebreakers are best looked at heading into Week 17 instead of Week 16 because it lowers the permutations and combinations of possible outcomes to deal with just one week of results.

To keep things simple for Denver fans, you want your Broncos to beat the Chiefs on Christmas Day. Furthermore, you want Miami to lose to the Buffalo Bills on December 24th. You also want the Baltimore Ravens to lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Christmas. You also want the Tennessee Titans to lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars on the 24th. However, the big results are Denver at KC and Miami at Buffalo. If those go wrong, then it's possible that Denver are out of the playoff hunt before Boxing Day.

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