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AFC West: Broncos Second in Conference after Ninth Straight Win

The AFC West continues, as it has the entire season, to be a one team show. The Denver Broncos have dominated the division and are currently 11-3 overall on the season after they won their ninth consecutive game last Sunday by defeating the Baltimore Ravens.

Denver knows they have two games left in the regular season and both could be very important as they are now sitting in second place in the AFC conference overall standings after both they defeated the Ravens and the Patriots lost to the 49ers.

With their current record of 11-3 and just the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs left on their schedule, the Broncos are eyeing a shot at getting home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Broncos need to win both of their remaining games and need Houston to lose at least one of their two remaining games.

The Broncos team has evolved over the season into one of the strongest offensive units in the NFL, as the team has an assortment of different weapons to throw at opponents. Some fans and even sports writers feel the Broncos are the odds on favorite to win the Vince Lombardi trophy.

First of all, they have Peyton Manning. The veteran quarterback is the team’s best offensive weapon and has taken control of the Denver offense as if he had played in Denver his entire career. His not so hurry-up no-huddle offense has been very successful for the Broncos.

Manning is completely 67.9% of his passes, has over 4,000 yards through the air and has connected on 31 touchdowns passes thus far. Last week, Manning led the Broncos to their ninth straight win and their first win in franchise history in Baltimore.

Manning’s targets all season have been Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas. Both have been able to step up in pressure situations when defenses keyed on the other receiver. Decker had eight catches and 133 yards against Baltimore. The two have over 2,140 yards receiving combined and have scored 17 touchdowns between them.

Brandon Stokley is another weapon on offense that Manning has been able to go to. He played many seasons with Manning at Indianapolis and their chemistry together is undeniable. His stats do not add up to the other two but he has been there when Manning needed him most.

Defensively the Broncos bring back memories of the days of the Orange Crush. The defense is now able to win games for the Broncos, and the defeat of Baltimore is one example.

Baltimore was closing in on a touchdown in the second quarter when Joe Flacco was intercepted by Chris Harris who returned the interceptions 98 yards. The Broncos eventually scored a touchdown. Instead of Baltimore scoring a touchdown and narrowing the lead to 10-7, they trailed 17-0 and the game was not the same from there on in.

Von Miller has resurrected the team’s defense as he has recorded 16 sacks and could win defensive player of the year honors. Much of the defensive success is thanks to Jack Del Rio, the defensive coordinator.

With just two games left in the regular season, many Denver fans see them already in the Super Bowl. However, players and coaches know regular season records do not win Super Bowls, just ask last season’s 15-1 Packers or the 16-0 Patriots of 2007.

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