Only four remain.
The NFL’s penultimate gameday is at hand.
With it comes the reminder that the Denver Broncos aren’t playing in a championship game Sunday, and Dove Valley is a barren wasteland.
And not just the in quarterbacks’ room.
We know it’s going to be painful as we watch some other team lift the Lamar Hunt trophy aloft Sunday.
It’s a worthy final set of games full of juicy storylines, tantalizing NFL wagering options and props leading into Colorado Super Bowl betting, and a whisper across the Front Range: The Broncos will be back playing during this weekend sooner rather than later. Hopefully.
Here’s a rundown for Colorado sports betting fans, going from most to least preferable.
This one’s … for Von!
It’s pretty simple to immediately lean toward the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC title game.
Von Miller’s mid-season trade was an inevitable end for a legendary career at Mile High. The Broncos needed salary cap room, draft picks for the (ongoing) rebuild, and the courtesy of letting one of the best decide his own fate.
Seeing that goofball absolutely maul Tom Brady last week stirred so many memories of the Super Bowl 50 run.
Quarterbacks are rarely the same after facing Miller in the playoffs. He’s reason alone to stand by L.A. on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.
49ers boast a familiar duo
From first-ballot Hall of Famer Von, we go to the new Hall of Famer John.
John Lynch, was the hammer in the Broncos’ defensive backfield from 2004-2007. The Broncos’ Ring of Fame safety is the architect of the Niners’ recent success and an award-winning general manager.
He’s a rare perennial All-Pro who commands the front office and crushes it draft after draft.
And let’s not forget his head coach.
The name Shanahan is nearly royalty up and down I-25. Mike Shanahan, of course, is the iconic mastermind behind the Broncos’ first two championships.
Yet his son Kyle has been a dynamic offensive genius in his own right. He helped coax Matt Ryan to an MVP and a Super Bowl appearance as the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator in 2016 (Miller was unable to crush Brady that year, sadly).
Kyle transitioned to the Niners, and has barely missed a beat in his five seasons. He’s already taken this team to a Super Bowl and is poised for a return trip — with an even better roster — with a win Sunday.
While Broncos fans may pine for Little Mastermind’s skills as a playcaller, rooting for Kyle is easy. It’s like seeing the kiddo you babysat graduate and go take the world by storm.
For those looking for good CO NFL betting value this weekend, warm fuzzies abound.
How about Joey B. and the Bengals?
You know who is also taking the world by storm?
That cigar-chomping Ohio savior Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals.
The woeful Bungles have a dark history with the playoffs. Burrow has erased any doubt that this offense can score at will and shock the league.
But do we really have to root for yet another young star QB when Broncos Country has been saddled with the rotating factory of sadness?
Only if he denies the Kansas City Chiefs a third consecutive AFC title.
Burrow may have a Colorado Buff helping him though.
Chidobe Awuzie is a starting cornerback for the Bengals and has had a solid year in his first season with the Orange and Black.
CU always loves seeing its alums in big games, and Chido will be tested by Patrick Mahomes and his arsenal of receiving talent.
And finally, we get to talk Mahomes
The Chiefs have been on a scorched-earth campaign against the Broncos since Peyton Manning retired. That’s 13 series wins in a row for K.C.
And they’ve rarely been competitive games, from Monday Night Football Lefthanded Mahomes Magic to a Christmas “gift” touchdown thrown by thicc boi Dontari Poe.
So, I’m not saying we “root” for the Chiefs exactly.
Andy Reid got his ring, Mahomes is arguably the face of the league and the talent is undeniable.
We get it. We’ve seen it.
I guess if it happens, we can be happy that former Buff legend Eric Bienemy would get another crack at crushing a NFC defense. A slow clap for EB with gritted teeth.
Sure, fine, whatever.
It’s just tough to cheer for your own football bully.
So I guess three out of four isn’t too bad?