Though the Broncos' 3-5 record has put them in a hole for their playoff hopes, a new agreement by NFL team owners could help their chances.
According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, NFL owners approved what is being described as a "contingency plan" to expand the playoff field to eight teams from each conference in the event that "meaningful games" are canceled due to COVID-19.
If that were to happen, it would mean that the playoff field expanded by a third since the previous season. In the new collective bargaining agreement that was ratified early this year, the league already agreed to expand the playoff field from six teams per conference to seven apiece.
Denver would still need to reverse their fortunes for a shot at the playoffs, though.
The Broncos sit at 3-5 in the AFC’s 10th spot, two games behind four teams that currently are 5-3. Two of those teams are the Broncos' next two opponents — the Raiders and Dolphins. Wins against each of them are essentially necessary for the Broncos to put themselves back in the race for a wild-card spot, even if the NFL ends up adding an eighth playoff seed.
"[V]ictories would not only push the Broncos back to 5-5, they would give the Broncos a head-to-head advantage over teams competing for the seventh playoff seed," our own Aric DiLalla wrote in his mailbag. "Baltimore or Pittsburgh likely has one of the wild-card spots locked up, and Cleveland appears to have the edge for another. That means the final spot could come down to the Colts/Titans, Raiders, Dolphins and Broncos. In all likelihood, the Broncos will need to go 6-2 down the stretch to get to 9-7 and earn a spot."
The chances may be slim right now with such a large pack ahead of them, but an extra playoff spot could give the Broncos just the opportunity they need.
Below the Fold
At 5 p.m. MT on Wednesday, FOX Sports 1 will air Trench Life, a feature about playing offensive line. In a teaser for the show, three-time Pro Bowler Lane Johnson describes what it's like facing Von Miller (though I could not find any evidence that Miller was a state champion hurdler in high school, as Johnson claims). "This guy's 250 [pounds] running a 4.5[-second 40-yard dash], can bend like a cat," Johnson said. "… It's a different breed of athlete." It will also air on NFL Network on Nov. 23 at 6:15 p.m. MT.
In case you missed it on Tuesday, Jerry Jeudy is up for NFL Rookie of the Week. Don't forget to vote!