The Denver Broncos won back-to-back games going into their bye, but the team is still only 3-5 coming out of the break.
Are the Broncos a true contender to get back into the playoff hunt, or were those pre-bye victories more of a fluke than a sign of things to come? We’ll find out soon enough.
Denver is set to play the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football in Week 10 followed by a Sunday Night Football showdown with the Minnesota Vikings in Week 11. The Broncos will now have a national audience looking on as they attempt to prove they are a serious team going into the second half of the season.
“I think it’s something we bring up,” coach Sean Payton said earlier this week when asked about the team playing in prime time in consecutive weeks. “The one thing we do know is if you’re significant, you begin to play on a lot of these hours and these primetime night games — Thursday night, Christmas Eve, Sunday night, Monday night. The less significant you become, your chances of — you might play one of those a year.
“For us, it’s two-fold. We’re playing good teams. Buffalo has been a perennial playoff team and right on the cusp of being in a handful of Super Bowls. [They are] a team that we have got great respect for. Sean [McDermott] has been fantastic there in what he’s done, and I think they present a huge challenge, especially in Buffalo in the month of November. … To play them on Monday night, those are great challenges. The competitor in you wants to play in front of large audiences and in important games, so these are those opportunities.”
If the Broncos win at least one of their next two games and look competitive in each contest, national pundits might start to believe Denver is capable of making a playoff push. If the Broncos are dominated by the Bills on prime time, on the other hand, the pre-bye hype will quickly fade away. Denver has talked the talk, now it’s time to back it up on the field.