Tank to be rank.

The last thing the Broncos should do in this horrific 2020 is the one thing the Broncos don’t want to do to end the year.

The Broncos MUST lose to the Raiders on Sunday in the season finale.

A defeat will be critical to 2021.

After the latest runner-up prize was awarded to the Broncos in Los Angeles, linebacker Alexander Johnson summarized the team’s philosophy about the rematch with the Raiders, who dominated the Broncos in Las Vegas, 37-12.

“Get the win,’’ he said.

Of course, players prefer to go out in style for the Broncos and, especially, themselves, and they are eager to retaliate against an ancient adversary, and they crave one more triumph in the season of their despair and despondency.

But a victory means nothing but a negative in a fifth consecutive year of complete failure.

Broncos Chargers Football

Broncos running back Melvin Gordon runs against the Los Angeles Chargers during the second half Sunday in Inglewood, Calif.

A 6-10 record actually is worse than 5-10.

I hope that someone at Dove Valley — John Elway, Joe Ellis, Vic Fangio, an analytical expert, an assistant coach, a receptionist or Mark Thewes, who joined the franchise as Josh McDaniels’ buddy and now is VP of football operations and compliance — is intelligent enough to realize that the Broncos win in defeat.

Orange faithful get it more than the Broncos.

Everybody in Colorado should be cheering Sunday for the Broncos ... to flop.

Call me old and crazy, but to explain: If the Raiders prevail in the empty stadium, the Broncos are guaranteed to wind up the last-place team in the AFC West Division no matter how the Chargers fare in Kansas City. The Chargers, at least, already possess six victories and probably won’t earn another, although the Chiefs already have secured the division’s top spot, the conference’s solo first-round bye (with the addition of a seventh postseason team this year) and the conference’s home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. K.C. may rest every starter.

The Broncos’ schedule for ’21 already has been established by NFL rules.

Except for two games.

The Broncos will play home and away games, as usual, vs. the Chiefs, the Raiders and the Chargers. In the league’s annual rotation, the Broncos also will meet the four AFC North teams — the Steelers, the Bengals, the Ravens and the Browns — and the NFC’s four East teams – the Eagles, the Giants, the Cowboys and whatever the Washington Football Team will call itself.

The Broncos will play in Dallas, New Jersey, Pittsburgh and Cleveland and host Baltimore, Washington, Cincinnati and Philadelphia.

The final two teams are from the AFC’s East and South Division. By virtual of finishing fourth, the Broncos will play the bottom-feeding Jets (in Denver) and the Jaguars (in Jacksonville). How lucky for the Broncos, although both likely will have top-drawer rookie quarterbacks?

Ultimately, by falling to the Raiders, the Broncos would play 11 games against opponents who did not manage winning records in 2020.

The Broncos should have the NFL’s weakest schedule.

They would confront just four winning teams from this season — the Chiefs (twice), the Browns, the Ravens and the Steelers.

If that Corhuskers-like schedule doesn’t improve the Broncos in ’21 and get them back to the playoffs for the first time in six seasons, then everybody in power should be fired.

Yet, it has to be remembered that, including 2020, the Broncos have earned winning records in only six of 15 seasons. With the exception of the Peyton Manning Era, the Broncos have been one of the most common, garden-variety franchises since 2006.

This will be the second 5-11 or 6-10 team.

Wouldn’t it be swell to win 10 again?

The second important reason for the Broncos to let the Raiders succeed Sunday would be draft positioning. The Broncos could draft as high as seventh with a loss. With a victory, they might draft as low as 13th.

Major difference.

The Broncos certainly need another high-choice cornerback, offensive lineman, linebacker or, perhaps, a quarterback.

In 2016 the Broncos would have been much better off losing to the Raiders in the last game @Mile High. But Gary Kubiak was determined to win in his farewell — and did 24-6.

Fangio, Elway, Ellis and most of the rest will return in 2021.

They must not mess it up this year.

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