Denver Broncos Case Keenum
Case Keenum #4 of the Denver Broncos fumbles the ball after a hit by D.J. Reed #32 of the San Francisco 49ers during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on December 9, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. Robert Reiners/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos might have seen any realistic chance they had of making the playoffs come to an end Sunday. While the team is mathematically still alive in the postseason race, it’s hard to believe they’ll be playing beyond Week 17.

Denver lost on the road to the San Francisco 49ers 20-14 in their Week 14 matchup, losing to the team that’s tied for the worst record in the NFL. They are out of the hunt for the AFC West title and the first wild-card spot. The Baltimore Ravens have a one-game lead over the Broncos for the AFC’s No.6 seed.

The Broncos didn’t actually lose any ground on the Ravens because Baltimore was beaten by the Kansas City Chiefs. The problem is every other team fighting for the conference’s second wild-card spot was victorious. The Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins all share the same record as Baltimore.

The Ravens own the tiebreaker for the No.6 seed because of their conference record. Baltimore essentially has a 1.5-game lead over Denver since their win over the Broncos in Week 3 gives them the head-to-head tiebreaker.

There’s certainly a chance that either Baltimore or the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have a half-game lead over the Ravens in the AFC North, will end the season with fewer than nine wins. The Ravens end the season with difficult matchups against the 10-win Los Angeles Chargers and the surging Cleveland Browns. Pittsburgh faces the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints in the next two weeks.

The Broncos will play at home against the Browns, on the road against the Oakland Raiders and at home against the Chargers to end the season. Even with three straight wins, the team will need some help from the rest of the contenders.

Indianapolis and Tennessee will meet in the season finale. The Colts host the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants in the next two weeks. Tennessee is scheduled to visit New York and host the Washington Redskins.

In between visits to Minnesota and Buffalo, Miami will host the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Dolphins and Ravens are both 6-4 in the conference, leading the way among the wild-card contenders.

Denver brought a three-game winning streak into San Francisco. The team was beaten without two of their best players. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is done for the year with a torn Achilles, and cornerback Chris Harris will miss at least the remainder of the regular season with a fractured fibula.

Only the Cincinnati Bengals have faced a more difficult schedule than the Broncos through 14 weeks.