After their 16-3 loss to a surging New England Patriots, Super Bowl champions Denver Broncos see their fate hanging in the balance. The Broncos’ continuous offensive struggles leave their playoff chances in the hands of rival teams.
With the loss, the Broncos now sport am 8-6 record landing them third in the AFC West. It also gives them a slim chance making it into even the wildcard. According to Fox 31 Denver, the Broncos need to sweep their remaining assignments hoping teams ahead of them to lose. This includes the Dolphins, Ravens, and Titans.
ESPN’s senior writer Jeff Legwold noted that the Broncos’ defense failed to pressure Tom Brady which eventually haunted them. Aside from defense, the Broncos’ offense also failed to show some signs of life. Trevor Siemian executed good plays at the start of the match but soon faded as the Patriots defense work wonders.
“The bottom line is, the Broncos did the most difficult thing by holding Brady in check,” Legwold wrote. “The Broncos did just that. And yet their playoff chances have almost evaporated because this team hasn’t done enough to finish the story.”
The biggest setback Sunday came from Siemian who threw a red-zone interception. It gave away the points to the Patriots without shedding a sweat. Even Coach Bill Belichick acknowledged it as the “blunder” that gave away the game to the Patriots.
But even as they lost the game, Broncos’ nose tackle Sylvester Williams stress they are not pointing any fingers. Williams explained they took it as a team adding their defense needing adjustments to prevent a repeat of it.
“We went down together. Our defense didn’t force any turnovers,” Williams said. “We put the ball on the ground twice today and they put it down zero on us. Forcing turnovers could have given the ball to our offense in good field position.”
What is next for the Patriots?
The Patriots already secured the division title and hope to lock in a first-round bye in the postseason. Beating the Broncos, the Patriots are 12-2 taking command of the AFC division and look at an easy finish. They would next face the even struggling Jets on Dec. 24 and against the Dolphins on Jan. 1.
“That was a real strong effort by our team today. I’m really proud of these guys,” Belichick said after the match. “It was a short week, playing Monday night then coming out here playing a great organization in the Broncos. It was a great challenge for us. Our players did a great job. They prepared well.”
Sweeping their remaining matches will give the Patriots an outright bye in the first round going into the postseason. With the addition of wide receiver Michael Floyd, the Patriots are looking as contenders for a Super Bowl appearance.
Before the start of the season, expectations ran high with the Broncos of getting back into the Super Bowl. With the turn of events including loopholes to both offense and defense, the Broncos need to sweep their remaining matches. Aside from that, they also need help from rival teams hoping they commit blunders to better their chances this postseason.
Will the Broncos get a wildcard or playoff berth? Share your thoughts.
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