Denver Broncos 2020 NFL schedule: 5 must-win games

Vic Fangio, Denver Broncos. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Vic Fangio, Denver Broncos. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /
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Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills
Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Denver Broncos should be one of the most improved teams in the NFL next year. Here are five games they need to win if they want to make the playoffs.

One team that many people believe is poised to pop next season is the Denver Broncos. Despite an 0-4 start under first-year head coach Vic Fangio, the Broncos came alive as the season went on. We knew the defense would be good under Fangio, but what caught us by surprise was the play of rookie starting quarterback Drew Lock down the stretch.

Of course, it was an incredibly limited sample size, but Lock showed signs of promise at the quarterback position we haven’t seen out of a Bronco since Peyton Manning‘s second to last season in Denver in 2014. Lock’s progression in year two out of Missouri will go a long way in if the Broncos can hang with the Kansas City Chiefs in the division, or contend for a Wild Card spot.

Denver will not double its win total from a year ago, but going 10-6 or 9-7 is a very real possibility for the Broncos. Outside of the Chiefs presumably winning the division again, the AFC West is both competitive and completely up for grabs two through four. Every divisional game will be a doozy, but the Broncos need to finish .500 or better in AFC West play if they want to sniff the playoffs.

Here are five games the Broncos need to find a way to win if they want to reach the postseason.

Home. Empower Field at Mile High. Buffalo Bills. 5. player. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. 16

With the AFC West looking to be very tough this fall, it is important for the Broncos to win as many big games at home as the can to help them build confidence throughout the season. Though this may be a very good team they’ll go up against, the Broncos do need to find a way to the beat the Buffalo Bills at home this season.

To counterbalance potentially going 3-3 in AFC West play, the Broncos would need to go 3-1 against either the AFC East or the NFC South to compensate that. But with no easy game out of the NFC South slate with the New Orleans Saints at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home and road dates with the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers, it will have to be the AFC East.

Though you don’t want to assume anything, the Broncos should be able to beat the Miami Dolphins at home coming across county and playing at altitude, possibly at cold temperatures. Winning on the road vs. the New England Patriots is possible with Tom Brady out of the picture, but we’ve seen great teams struggle playing Bill Belichick’s team in Foxborough for two decades.

So you see why the Broncos need to find a way to beat the Bills at home? They’re not going up against an elite quarterback, this one will be at home in altitude and it will likely be a low-scoring game. While it wouldn’t be a shameful loss for the Bills by any stretch of the imagination, it’ll be hard for Denver to get to 10-6 if they don’t defeat Buffalo at Mile High this year.