Can the Denver Broncos squeak their way into a playoff spot?

I say YES!

Denver Broncos v Houston Texans
Denver Broncos v Houston Texans / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
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The Denver Broncos are 6-6 and just one game out of a playoff spot in the AFC. Can this veteran-led team squeak their way into the postseason? When the team started 1-5 to begin the 2023 NFL Season, many began to question Sean Payton and just how good of a coach he is. Payton worked with future Hall of Famer Drew Brees for years in New Orleans.

And the 1-5 start from the Broncos had people thinking that it was Brees who was more responsible for the success of the Saints and not Payton. Well, a month and a half later, the Broncos got themselves to 6-5 and right in the mix. A loss to the Houston Texans dropped them to 6-6, but the team has gone 5-1 in their last six games since that 1-5 start.

The team is led by two battle-tested veterans with Payton at the helm and QB Russell Wilson leading the team at QB. And right there is where I think the Denver Broncos have the advantage over the other AFC Wild Card hopefuls. Let's take a look at the other HC/QB combinations...

-Mike Tomlin/Kenny Pickett & Mitchell Trubisky
-Shane Steichen/Gardner Minshew
-Kevin Stefanski/Joe Flacco & Dorian Thompson-Robinson

-DeMeco Ryans/CJ Stroud
-Sean McDermott/Josh Allen
-Zac Taylor/Jake Browning

You'd be crazy to think that one of these other HC/QB duos is more reliable than Sean Payton and Russell Wilson. Payton and Wilson have over 30 games of playoff experience, and both have been wrapped up in the middle of playoff hunts. Each of these duos mentioned above are on teams with six or seven wins.

I'd have to expect, at some point, for some of these less-experienced duos to fall off at some point. With five games remaining for each team here, and looking at the Broncos schedule, I have to think that they end up with one of the Wild Card spots. Denver still has to face the Chargers twice, Lions, Patriots, and Raiders. I mean, four wins for the Broncos does seem pretty likely unless the team implodes.

I think the Denver Broncos, who are currently in the ninth seed in the AFC, find a way to squeak in. Sean Payton and Russell Wilson are going to show up when it matters most.