DENVER -- Here’s breaking news you haven’t seen or read anywhere except on thedenverchannel.com: It is not only possible, but plausible, that the Broncos could end up playing seven games this season against the Raiders, the Chiefs and Patriots.
And if you add the Texans and the Falcons, the Broncos might have to play five teams 11 times.
WHAT? Am I crazy? Yes, but that’s beside the point.
It is without dispute that the Broncos will play New England, Kansas City and Oakland five times in the second half of the regular season.
And in the postseason, the Broncos could play the Raiders and the Chiefs a third time and the Patriots and the Falcons a second time.
Now, that prospective seems more far-fetched than the meteor that was approaching within 300,000 miles of Earth Sunday night swerving off course and landing in Breckenridge.
Consider this after the Broncos finished off the Chargers on Sunday afternoon and finished the first half of the season with a 6-2 record:
The Broncos have eight games (and a bye week) left, and they have played only two AFC West division games – both against San Diego. They have to go to Oakland on Sunday and play the Raiders in the final regular-season game.
They host the Chiefs on Thanksgiving weekend and play in Kansas City on Christmas night.
New England comes to town on Dec. 18.
That’s a lot packed into the next nine weeks, even if you dismiss trips to Jacksonville, New Orleans and Tennessee.
These are the comparison records:
- New England, 7-1 (4-0 with Tom Brady)
- Denver, 6-2 (6-1 with Trevor Siemian as the starter)
- Oakland, 6-2 (5-0 on the road for the first time since 1977 – the year the Broncos played them three times, won two and went to the Super Bowl)
- Kansas City, 5-2 (with three straight victories).
Those are the top four teams in the conference (although the Chiefs have played one fewer game). Only two other teams in the conference have winning records – Pittsburgh (4-3) and Houston (5-3).
It’s quite possible those will be the six playoff teams – with three teams coming out of the AFC West at 10-6 or 11-5. In fact, the Broncos, the Chiefs and the Raiders could tie at 10-6. No chance? In 2011 three division teams tied at 8-8. The Broncos won on a tiebreaker with Tim Tebow.
The Chargers seem done like dinner after Sunday’s game with a 3-5 mark.
So, let’s say the Broncos end up 10-6, as I predicted before the season, and earn a wild card spot; the Raiders are 11-5 to take the division, and the Chiefs are the second wild card team at 10-6. The Patriots, the Steelers and the Texans win their divisions.
The Broncos go to the Texans (home field by virtue of winning the division), and the Chiefs travel to Pittsburgh. Both the Broncos and the Chiefs win. The Broncos beat Brock again in Gary Kubiak’s Homecoming.
The next weekend the Broncos are in New England against the Patriots (who, if you look at their schedule, will lose only one more game the rest of the season – perhaps in in Denver), and the Chiefs play at Oakland.
Let’s say the Broncos and the Raiders won.
They would meet for the AFC Championship (for the only time since that 1977 season).
If the Broncos prevailed in Oakland, guess who they might play in Super Bowl 50 in, of all places, Houston?
The Falcons did beat the Packers at home on Sunday in a thriller that ended about the same time as the Broncos’ game. Atlanta leads the awful AFC South and does have the fourth best record in the NFC.
A Broncos-Falcons rematch of Super Bowl XXXIII could happen.
If the Broncos won . . .
They would be 1-1 with Atlanta; 1-1 or 2-0 against New England; 1-2, 2-1 or 3-0 against the Raiders, 0-2, 1-1 or 2-0 against the Chiefs and 2-0 against the Texans.
Confused, and maybe skeptic?
Well, remember this: In 2013 the Broncos played San Diego three times and New England twice and Oakland and Kansas City twice each – for a total of nine games against four teams – and if you count the exhibition against Seattle, they played five teams 11 times.
See, it’s plausible. And yes, I’m still crazy after all these years.