If the playoffs ended today, the Broncos would have a first-round bye.
If things were only that simple. With the Baltimore Ravens losing their second-straight game on Sunday – this time to a Redskins team led by Kirk Cousins – Baltimore dropped to 9-4 on the season. After Denver's victory over the Raiders, 26-13, on Thursday night, the Broncos won their eighth straight game to advance to 10-3. Denver will travel to Baltimore to play the Ravens in Week 15.
The Ravens are in a bit of a freefall, with their defense struggle and their offense likewise struggling when it counts. Joe Flacco played well in the first half versus the Redskins on Sunday, but he had a few costly mistakes down the stretch, including a fumble and a red zone interception that helped keep the Redskins in the game. As a result of their offensive ineffectiveness, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was fired today. Former Colts head coach Jim Caldwell will replace Cameron in that vicinity for the rest of the season. Caldwell had been serving as quarterbacks coach for the Ravens the entire season.
Speaking of teams that are fighting for playoff position at the top of the AFC, the Houston Texans (11-1) visit the New England Patriots (9-3) for AFC supremacy in tonight's game at 8:30 EST. As a Broncos fan, if you're dead-set on the Broncos achieving a first round bye as a No. 2 seed and don't believe the Broncos have much of a chance at gaining home-field advantage throughout the playoffs as the No. 1 seed, you'd probably be best served to root for the Texans in this game.
However, if you still believe the Broncos have a chance at the No. 1 seed – keep in mind Denver loses the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Texans and the Patriots because of losses to both teams earlier in the season – you should for New England in tonight's game. With a Patriots victory, it would keep both Denver and New England tied at 10-3, with the Texans dropping at 11-2 with three games remaining in the season and a slim chance that Denver could gain the No. 1 seed, given the Broncos winning their final three games, with New England dropping at least one more and the Texans dropping two of their final three.'
Here are the remaining schedules for each team:
Week 15 at Baltimore (9-4)
Week 16 vs. Cleveland (5-8)
Week 17 vs. Kansas City (2-11)
New England Patriots
Week 14 vs. Houston (11-1)
Week 15 vs. San Francisco (9-3-1)
Week 16 at Jacksonville (2-11)
Week 17 vs. Miami (5-8)
Week 14 at New England (9-3)
Week 15 vs. Indianapolis (9-4)
Week 16 vs. Minnesota (7-6)
Week 17 at Indianapolis (9-4)
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