As the bracket from NFL.com indicates above, the Denver Broncos (8-3) would face the Indianapolis Colts (7-4) in the Wild Card Round of the 2013 Playoffs if the season ended today.
Currently the No. 4 seed in the AFC, Denver trails Houston (10-1), Baltimore (9-2) and New England (8-3). The Texans and Patriots will face off in Week 14, the Colts will face Houston twice before season’s end, and the Patriots face San Francisco (8-2-1) in Week 15.
Those four match-ups, in addition to Denver’s Week 15 game in Baltimore, will likely determine the final seeding in the AFC Playoff picture. Houston seemingly has the No. 1 seed locked up, while the No. 2 seed is still up for grabs.
If the final playoff bracket ends up as projected above (which is unlikely, but possible), it would be Andrew Luck vs. Peyton Manning in “The Sheriff” vs. “The Rookie”.
The backgrounds of Manning—who took the Colts to a pair of Super Bowls—and Luck—who ultimately replaced Manning in Indianapolis—have been well documented and such a showdown would be a network’s dream come true for ratings. Manning always draws huge ratings; playing against his former team and successor in the playoffs would send ratings off the charts.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, the Broncos, of course, must first make it to the playoffs. They can lock up the AFC West with a win over Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Earning a playoff berth is Denver’s ultimate goal, but Coach John Fox insists it will be business as usual this week.
“Well, No. 1, we don’t want to worry about all that,” said Fox on Monday, speaking of the current playoff scenario. ”We want to worry about the Tampa Bay Bucs in all three phases. That’ll be the mantra when we gather the team back up on Wednesday.”
The road to the Super Bowl would be easier traveled through Sports Authority Field, but a Wild Card showdown between Manning and Luck would be fun to watch. How do you think the final playoff bracket will shape up? Dish out your predictions in the comments below!