The Denver Broncos have lost five games in a row. They've given up more than 40 points in two straight games, and their special teams play has been the worst in the league by a wide margin. During this five-game skid, I have been very critical of the Broncos and expressed how they should roll the dice with Lynch and look to the future. Well, that story is changing now. The Denver Broncos just might make the playoffs. With a favorable schedule, a veteran roster, and most of the AFC playing poorly, the wild card spots are wide open for the Broncos to take one.

Favorable schedule

The Broncos' next five games are against the Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, and Indianapolis Colts. Each of these teams is under .500 and look terrible, so there's hope. If Denver can get back in the win column on Sunday against a struggling Bengals team who have been awful on the road then who knows what could happen? That win would give them some momentum going into Oakland, who is the best team they'll face in the next five weeks. The following three weeks will be teams who are quarterbacked by Jay Cutler, Josh McCown, and Jacoby Brissett. If the Broncos win these next five games, as they should, then they are sitting at 8-6 going into the final two weeks against the Washington Redskins and Kansas City Chiefs.

Even if they lose one and finish 9-7, I still think that will be enough to make the playoffs in a relatively weak AFC.

The AFC is weak

The teams that the Broncos are competing with for the last wild card spot are the Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders, and Los Angeles Chargers. Most teams still technically have a chance at the playoffs, but these are the teams with the best chance who are still alive.

Let's start with the Jacksonville Jaguars. They have a great defense and a solid run game. They also play in a weak division, and I believe that the Jaguars will lock up a playoff spot.

Next up is the Buffalo Bills. Let's be real; it's the Bills. They've been a joke for an incredibly long time now and their starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor was just benched after a 47-10 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

The Bills aren't a real threat considering they still have two games against the Patriots.

The Oakland Raiders are the most significant threat because of their explosive offense. However, their defense is basically swiss cheese which will likely be a cause for a few losses at some point between now and the end of the season. If the Broncos win the game in Oakland in two weeks, you can pretty much count the Raiders out because the Broncos will have a one and half game lead on them.

Last but not least, there's the Los Angeles Chargers. They just lost in overtime to the Jaguars and Phillip Rivers self-reported having concussion symptoms. If Rivers misses any time, the Chargers will likely lose those games and still have games against the Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, and Kansas City Chiefs on their schedule.

The Broncos are a veteran team

The Broncos are a team filled with veterans who have won a Super Bowl which is going to be huge down the stretch. This team has close to the same defense they had when they won it all in 2015, just with a different man at the helm, Joe Woods. Offensively, the line is improved, the stable of running backs is something to envy, and they have two pro bowl wide receivers. The veteran leadership is outspoken and angry about the losing streak, as they should be.

It's unfortunate that the Chiefs, Eagles, and Patriots were the final teams in that stretch because they'd be tough to beat if the team is clicking on all cylinders. Von Miller and Derek Wolfe have been vocal about their frustrations and facing a few inferior teams in a row may be precisely what this team needs to get back on track.

The teams that get hot late in the year are always the most dangerous at the tail end of the season, and that's exactly what could happen in Denver over the next few weeks. This is a locker room filled with players who have been to the top of the mountain and know what it takes to get there. If the Broncos start playing smart football they're going to make the playoffs, and from there, anything can happen.