Kiz: Don’t need a computer simulator to tell me the odds or tea leaves to foresee the future. The Broncos are going to make the playoffs. I guarantee it. Predicted a 10-7 record before the season, but I never thought it could happen this way. How did we get here? Never a doubt, eh?
Gabriel: Never a doubt. My 8-9 prediction has me currently looking like the opposite of you, Kiz: a real downer instead of a constant ray of sunshine. We got here because the Broncos suddenly started winning the exact kind of games they’ve lost for the better part of the past seven years: Close games. Physical games. 50/50 games. The kind that pockmark the NFL every week. Of course, Sunday wasn’t quite that. It was a pretty thorough beatdown from Sean Payton’s team over a Chargers team and coach in Brandon Staley who looks headed for more rocky road.
Kiz: I don’t know if I believe the Broncos can end the reign of Kansas City as boss of the AFC West. But since beating the Chiefs, Denver has been the best team in the division. Get in the playoffs and the Broncos have a defense to do some damage. Where’s the Super Bowl played this season?
Gabriel: How does the desert sound to you, Kiz? A stretch of February in Las Vegas will be good times for a pair of teams and a big swath of the whole NFL operation. The Broncos? Well … let’s not get too far out ahead of our early winter skis just yet, OK? But we wouldn’t be having this conversation without some really impressive performances across the board, right? So, who you got for MVP of this season-turning run, Kiz?
Kiz: While the connection between Wilson and Sutton has been jaw-dropping, the Broncos would be nowhere near the playoff discussion without the transformation of a defense that was in shambles after surrendering 70 points to Miami. So I have to give the MVP of this amazing turnaround to defensive coordinator Vance Joseph … and can’t wait for the first playoff game against the Dolphins. It’s fate, eh?
Gabriel: Yeah, difficult to go wrong with Joseph. Amazing to say, given the way the season started, but don’t think it’s possible to rule out him getting at least initial interviews during what’s shaping up to be a wild NFL head coaching carousel this winter. My vote for MVP of this run: Justin Simmons. Consider that he spent almost all of training camp dealing with a hip/groin injury and then looked a half-step off his normal ball-hawking self over the first two weeks. Then he missed defensive debacles against Miami and Chicago dealing with the same injury. So let’s call it Week 5 when Healthy Justin started playing this year. My abacus here says they’ve been pretty good with Healthy Justin. How far can Denver take it? We’re fixin’ to find out.