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NFL playoff picture: Who to root for in Week 17 if you are a Denver Broncos fan

Week 17 is here and the Denver Broncos are on the wrong side of the playoff picture. Who should Denver fans root for to help their chances?

Wide receiver Brandon Johnson #89 of the Denver Broncos carries the ball after a catch as cornerback Jonathan Jones #31, linebacker Josh Uche #55 and linebacker Mack Wilson Sr. #3 of the New England Patriots defend during the 4th quarter of the game at Empower Field At Mile High on December 24, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos are reeling after suffering an embarrassing loss to the New England Patriots last Sunday. They dropped to 7-8 with the last-second loss and now sit in 12th place in the AFC playoff standings. They are behind the 7-8 Raiders due to the head-to-head tiebreaker, and there are four teams tied at 8-7 and competing for the final wild card berth.

The Broncos host the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 17 and face a must-win situation. They have benched Russell Wilson for the game and will start Jarrett Stidham. It’s likely a financial decision given the injury guarantees in Wilson’s contract, but either way, it’s a wild turn of events in Denver.

That being said, the Broncos are still alive in the playoff chase. If they win, they’ll need a lot of help to climb back up the playoff standings. Broncos fans need to pay attention to the following games as the team looks to improve its playoff chances.

Result: The Broncos beat the Chargers, but were officially eliminated from playoff contention when the Chiefs beat the Bengals.

Colts vs. Raiders

The Broncos face the Raiders in Week 18, so they have some room to gain ground on them. Broncos fans should be rooting for the Raiders to beat the Colts because that would draw Indianapolis back down into a tie with the group, assuming Denver beats LA. That leaves open the door for the Broncos to beat the Raiders in Week 18 to move past them in the standings.

ResultL Indianapolis edged Las Vegas 23-20. The Raiders have been eliminated from playoff contention while the Colts are currently above the Broncos in the AFC Wild Card race.

Bengals vs. Chiefs
Steelers vs. Seahawks

Result: The Chiefs beat the Bengals and the Steelers beat the Seahawks. That coupled with the Bills win earlier in the day knocked out the Broncos.

Cincinnati and Pittsburgh each sit a game up on the Broncos with the conference record being the current tiebreaker. In that one, the Steelers lead the Broncos by half a game while the Broncos lead the Bengals by two games. It’s easy to root for the Seahawks to beat the Steelers. For the Bengals-Chiefs game, a Chiefs win would move a winning Broncos squad ahead of the Bengals. However, if you think the Bengals will lose to the Browns in Week 18, root for the Bengals to keep the AFC West title race cracked open.

The Bengals are a touchdown underdog at DraftKings Sportsbook while the Steelers are a 3.5-point underdog.

Titans vs. Texans

This is straight forward. The Texans beat the Broncos, so Denver needs Houston to lose both of their remaining games.

Result: Houston blasted Tennessee 26-3. Another result that wasn’t good for the Broncos as the Texans will finish ahead of them in the AFC standings.

Patriots vs. Bills

Denver holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Buffalo, so they would love to see them lose. The Bills have a two-game lead on the Broncos and this is a game they shouldn’t lose, but crazier things have happened.

Result: Buffalo defeated New England 27-21. Yet another result that did not help the Broncos’ playoff chances.