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NFL playoff picture: Who to root for in Week 15 if you are a Denver Broncos fan

Week 15 is here and the Denver Broncos are firmly in both the wild card chase and the AFC West race ahead of the 2024 NFL Playoffs. Who should Broncos fans root for to help their chances?

Russell Wilson #3 of the Denver Broncos celebrates his touchdown pass to Courtland Sutton #14 with Jerry Jeudy #10, for a 17-0 laed, during a 24-7 win over the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium on December 10, 2023 in Inglewood, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos will wrap up the Week 15 Saturday slate when they travel to face the Detroit Lions at 8:15 p.m. ET on NFL Network. The Broncos opened the season 1-5 but have stormed back into playoff contention by winning six of their past seven games.

Denver is now only one game back of the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West race. Just as notably, they are sitting in a tie with five other teams at 7-6 in a bid for the final two wild card berths. If you’re a Broncos fan, Week 15 brings a busy slate of games to keep an eye on in a bid for a playoff berth.

Saturday result: The Broncos lost an ugly one to the Vikings on Saturday evening. They fell behind 21-0 in the second quarter and could never turn things around. Jared Goff threw five touchdown passes in the rout. Denver drops in the playoff race with the loss, and how far will depend on Sunday’s results. They head into Sunday in 11th place with a 7-7 record.

Chiefs vs. Patriots

Result: The Chiefs rolled over the Patriots. They take a two-game lead on the Broncos in the AFC West with three weeks remaining.

The Broncos are in the wild card mix, but sitting only one game back of the Chiefs means they are that much closer to getting a chance to host a game in the Wild Card Round. Kansas City is a 7.5-point road favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook, but they’ve also stumbled a bit. They will probably crush New England, but they have lost two straight to the Packers and Bills, so maybe they lose a shocker to the Patriots.

Vikings vs. Bengals

Result: The Bengals stormed back from a 17-3 deficit to beat the Vikings 27-24 in overtime. Cincinnati climbed a full game up on the Broncos.

The Saturday tripleheader opens with the 7-6 Bengals hosting the 7-6 Vikings. Denver currently holds the tiebreaker over Cincinnati thanks to conference record (4-5 vs. 3-6). If the Broncos keep winning, it won’t matter, but it’s easier rooting for teams to knock themselves out of contention.

Cincinnati is a three-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Steelers vs. Colts

Result: The Colts beat the Steelers 30-13. Indianapolis moves a full game up on Denver while Pittsburgh remains tied with them.

This Saturday game is a big one for the rest of the pack of 7-6 teams. The Steelers and Colts hold the final two wild card berths thanks to tiebreakers over the Texans, Broncos, Bengals, and Bills. Both teams hold the conference record tiebreaker over the Broncos, sitting one game up on them (5-4 vs. 4-5).

Denver won’t face either team, so it comes down to what the rest of their schedules looks like. The Steelers have a tougher schedule the final three weeks of the season after this matchup, including vs. Bengals, @ Seahawks, and @ Ravens. The Colts are @ Falcons, vs. Raiders, and vs. Texans. Broncos fans should root for the Steelers in this one given Pittsburgh is more likely to suffer a loss over the final three weeks.

Indianapolis is 1.5-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Texans vs. Titans

Result: The Texans beat the Titans in overtime in spite of being without quarterback C.J. Stroud. Houston moves a game up on the Broncos.

The Texans are expected to be without QB C.J. Stroud, who is doubtful to play while in concussion protocol. So with Stroud and WR Nico Collins out, that isn’t a good sign for Houston. QB Case Keenum will have to start and that has made Tennessee a favorite at home in this game. The Texans are in 8th place, right ahead of Denver in the AFC standings. So Houston losing is big for the Broncos’ playoff chances.

Tennessee is a field goal favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Cowboys vs. Bills

Result: The Bills beat down the Cowboys, 31-10, to improve their record to 8-6, keeping them alive in the AFC playoff hunt.

The Bills are struggling to get on track and tiebreakers have dropped them to 11th, which is last among the 7-6 teams. They are coming off a road upset of the Chiefs and are a two-point home favorite against a surging Cowboys team. Dallas has won five straight and seven of eight, but have generally been a better home team than road team.

Bears vs. Browns

Result: The Browns beat the Bears on a last-second field goal. Cleveland improves to 9-5 and takes a two-game lead on the Broncos.

Cleveland sits a game up on the cluster of 7-6 teams, but have lost to the Broncos, which locks in the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Browns are coming off a 31-27 upset of the Jaguars, which snapped a two-game losing streak. Joe Flacco has been the story, but their dominant defense has been critical to their current position. They face a Bears team that has won three of four to climb to within a game of a wild card berth in the NFC.

Cleveland is a three-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook.