The Denver Broncos must treat every game going forward as if it were the playoffs – the NFL Nation

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Denver Broncos left another short stint at Arrowhead Stadium – their losing streak against the Kansas City Chiefs now after 12 games after a 22-9 loss Sunday night – and still hold on to the slightest playoff hopes in the chaotic AFC race.

But their margin of error has almost disappeared and they should soon start scoring touchdowns.

“[Broncos safety] “Kareem Jackson said it’s best in the locker room, man, we have five games left and each of them is a playoff game for us,” said quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

The Broncos, now 6-6, have only a 22% chance of reaching the playoffs, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index. There are 11 teams in the AFC that currently have the same or better results than the Broncos, with Pittsburgh (6-5-1), Cleveland (6-6) and Las Vegas (6-6) each having a head-to-head win over the Broncos.

The Broncos have home games for the next two weeks – against the Detroit Lions and Cincinnati Bengals – before ending the year with three consecutive AFC West games, including road games against the Raiders and Chargers before the season finale against the Chiefs.

“We know, of course, that there are opportunities out there,” said Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II, who had his fourth interception of the season in the third quarter on Sunday. “We have a lot of seasons left, we’ll see them again later along the way … we keep fighting and keep doing what we have to do.”

The Broncos, who limited Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to 15 finishes and kept him without a touchdown pass, play good enough defense to be on the hunt. But offensively, they will have to close the deal in the red zone with touchdowns far more often. They also need to start faster than they did Sunday night, when consecutive three-and-out games in the first quarter allowed the Chiefs to jump ahead 10-0.

The Broncos had 404 yards offensive, a product of some Styrofoam yardage in the fourth quarter after the Chiefs led by 19 points with 9 minutes, 42 seconds left. The peak of offensive frustration may have come in the second quarter as the Broncos spent 11:07 of the quarter on a 20-game drive and still came from there with no points as they failed to convert a fourth-and-2 from the Chiefs’ 8 -yard line.

“We just did not finish it and got the last 2 yards to keep it going,” Broncos coach Vic Fangio said.

The Broncos’ five-year playoff drought has reached such a point that kicker Brandon McManus is the only player left from Super Bowl 50 – the team’s last playoff game. None of the Broncos draft picks since 2016 – when safety Justin Simmons was a third round – have matched a playoff game for the team.

In short, they have very little experience to call on when trying to defeat the math down the line.

When Sutton was asked if he felt there was enough faith in the locker room to close strongly, Sutton said: “One thousand percent. We have five games left and they are all playoff games. We hold our destiny in our hands, you know we take these five games as playoff games. It’s a win or go home mentality for us. The locker room understands that. “

“We just have to come back and start this last five-game run … and get back on track,” Fangio said. “We’re still on the hunt and we can take care of business.”


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