NFL Outlook for Week 18

Broncos Finish Disappointing Season; Playoff Scenario Looming

Trevor Phipps


It was so close. The Denver Broncos had such a good chance at making the postseason, and even the fans got a glimpse of playoff fever.


But then here came the New England Patriots on Christmas Eve, arriving in town right before Santa, just to ruin the holidays for Bronco fans and to put a hefty share of pre-Yuletide coal in our stockings.  Talk about the New England Scrooge.

If the Broncos could have won their last three games, all against teams that had losing records and backup quarterbacks, they most likely would have seen a Wild Card game for the first time since what seems like the Dark Ages (actually it was 2015).


But after their close loss to New England in Week 16, Denver’s chance of experiencing postseason action dwindled down to around five percent. (The results of the Chargers’ game in Week 17 weren’t available as of press time, but regardless, we are not optimistic about the coming game)


In fact, the Raiders shocked NFL fans everywhere when they beat the Kansas Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 16. The team’s backup QB seems dialed in, and the Raiders are finding ways to put up some big scores.


The Broncos on the other hand, just don’t have it together. With their boring and repetitive play calling on offense, and their inability to tackle on defense, most teams just seem to be getting the best of the Broncos.


I think this match will boil down to who currently has the most momentum. With the Raiders improving and the Broncos looking tired and beat up, I think Las Vegas will end the 2023 season with a victory at home.


Prediction: Raiders 38, Broncos 23


Other Games to Watch


Since this is the last week of the season, the NFL likes to play with television schedules so that the big games, showcasing playoff teams and various post-season prospects, are shown during peak times. At the time of this writing, the time of the forthcoming Broncos’ Sunday game wasn’t available.


One big matchup to watch this week will be the Houston Texans at the Indianapolis Colts game. At the end of Week 16, both of the teams sported an 8-7 record and were tied with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC South.


The winner of this game could decide who makes the playoffs and who doesn’t. But based on what I have seen the last few weeks, I think the Colts will win as the Texans just look a little to beat up.


Another good game to catch will be the Buffalo Bills at the Miami Dolphins matchup. The Dolphins look like they are going to win the AFC East this season, but Buffalo has started looking sharp, and is right behind Miami.


Being a division rivalry game, this one should be close. But, I think Miami will take it in the end just because they have dominated most teams during their home games.


The Minnesota Vikings at the Detroit Lions is another division match that could make or break playoff chances for the Vikings. But I don’t think they have what it takes to stop the Lions.


The Atlanta Falcons at the New Orleans Saints is another game that could decide who sees the postseason between the two teams. This one is a bit of a toss-up, but I am going to say the Saints will pick up the victory.


The Pittsburgh Steelers at the Baltimore Ravens is another good division rivalry match to watch. But the Ravens just look too good to be stopped by the Steelers.


The Los Angeles Rams at the San Francisco 49ers could also be a good game between two playoff contenders. But even though the Rams have been vastly improving, I just don’t think they will beat the 49ers.


The Cleveland Browns at the Cincinnati Bengals could be another good division rivalry bout to tune in to. But I really like how the Browns have been playing this season, so they should come out on top.


AFC West Predictions


Since the Broncos battle the Raiders this week, the only other division match to watch is the Kansas City Chiefs at the Los Angeles Chargers game. This matchup could end up being a close one because neither team has really looked that stellar lately.


The Chiefs just have not been on point recently, and honestly, they have lost several games to teams they easily should have beat. The team’s offense has just not looked dialed in the last few weeks.


The Chargers too, have been riding the struggle bus lately. After their star QB Justin Herbert got hurt and their head coach got fired, the team has just not had it together.


But the Chiefs know that they need to win this game to win the division title.


Prediction: Chiefs 28, Chargers 24