A year ago at this time, the Denver Broncos were struggling through a five-game losing streak. Their high-priced quarterback was playing the worst football of his career and their embattled head coach was weeks away from being fired. In Indianapolis, the Colts were enduring even more dysfunction after their head coach was fired, replaced by an ESPN analyst without any NFL coaching experience, and the team was on the verge of a seven-game losing skid. Twelve months later, both teams have unexpectedly found themselves in the AFC playoff picture, despite rocky roads to this point.
The Broncos, who started 1-5, are now 6-5 after winning five games in a row. The Colts, who have rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson, are also 6-5 and have defied predictions of being a lost cause. Both teams have surprised many with their revivals this season.
Elsewhere in the NFL, notable developments occurred in week 12. The Bengals have lost Joe Burrow for the season and are 5-6, the Chargers are 4-7, the Bills lost a much-needed victory against the Eagles, and the AFC playoff picture has seen a lot of changes. The Chiefs, after a loss to the Eagles, and the Ravens, who defeated the Chargers, lead in the AFC with nine wins. The Steelers beat the Burrow-less Bengals and are also in the mix.
In the NFC, the Falcons are leading the NFC South, while the Eagles continue to win games in clutch moments and have the best record by a team coming off a Super Bowl loss since 1991. The Broncos and Colts have similarly defied expectations this season and are now inserted into the AFC playoff picture. The Colts have done an incredible job under their coach Shane Steichen.
Both teams will now look towards the coming weeks to see if they can maintain their position in the crowded AFC playoff race. The Broncos will face the Chiefs after a bye week and the Colts will have to continue fighting for their spot. It remains to be seen if their winning streaks and surprising revivals this season can carry over into the playoffs.