'Elves on the shelves' beat Broncos Patriots deserve NFL playoffs exclusion.

The Broncos lose Christmas Eve against the Patriots.

The Denver Broncos struggled against the New England Patriots defense on Sunday Night Football and missed a significant chance to boost their playoff chances. 

They tied late but lost 26-23 at Empower Field at Mile High.Denver has two games left and is 7-8.

Russell Wilson's touchdown touchdowns to Lucas Krull and Brandon Johnson and 2-point conversions to Johnson and Javonte Williams tied the game after trailing 23-7.

Denver had a chance to complete the comeback when they gained the ball at their 39 with 1:42 left, but they went three-and-out, giving New England the ball with under a minute left.

After a seven-play, 44-yard Patriots drive, Chad Ryland kicked a career-long 56-yard field goal with 2 seconds left.

New England took its first lead with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Bailey Zappe to Ezekiel Elliott, but Ryland's botched PAT made it 9-7.

Denver Broncos experience Christmas Eve loss to New England Patriots.

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