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Broncos Punch Playoff Ticket, Colts Grab Division Title

So much for any worries of playing in the cold weather.

On Sunday, the Denver Broncos (11-2) defeated the Tennessee Titans (5-8), 51-28 and clinched a playoff spot from this record-setting day. Quarterback Peyton Manning had 39 completions–setting a team record–while his 59 attempts tied a team high. Manning now has seven games this season with a minimum of four touchdowns–the greatest number in league history.

Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning

For the day, he went 39-for-59, 397 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. Manning is on target to break the NFL record of 5,476 yards and 50 touchdowns as he sits with 4,522 yards and 45 touchdowns.

Now that his team has punched its playoff ticket, Manning will make his 13th playoff visit, which surpasses the record previously held by Brett Favre. With Sunday’s 51 points, it represented the third time this season for the Broncos to hit this high-scoring number but the first NFL team to do so since the league’s 1970 merger.

As for weather posing a challenge for him, Manning said after the game said via NFL.com, “Whoever wrote that narrative can shove that one where the sun don’t shine. I felt pretty good out there today.”

But Sunday wasn’t all about No. 18. Kicker Matt Prater nailed a 64-yard, record-setting field goal. The team is now the first one in league history to have four of its player with more than 10 touchdowns. Should wide receiver Eric Decker score twice in the team’s last three games, then this number will advance to five players.

Rookie running back Montee Ball had 15 carries for 77 yards for one touchdown and over the last two games, has outrun his teammate Knowshon Moreno, 194-96. On the passing side, wide receiver Wes Welker went down with a concussion in the second half but before then, he caught his 10th touchdown pass for the season, contributing to the team’s record.

This week, the Broncos will host the San Diego Chargers (6-7) on Thursday night. Look for another Broncos win (-11.5, 54.5 o/u) as the Chargers continue fighting for their own playoff spot thanks to a Sunday win over the New York Giants (5-8), 37-14.

As for the AFC West playoff picture, the Broncos have a one-game advantage over the Kansas Chiefs (10-3), who defeated the Washington Redskins (3-10), 45-10 on Sunday. Denver also has the tiebreaker advantage but needs to win two of its last three games to win the division. If it wins all three of them, Denver will get home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

The Broncos sit at 13/4 to win the 2014 Super Bowl.

Colts Clinch AFC South

The Indianapolis Colts (8-4) joined the playoff path on Sunday even with its 42-28 loss against the Cincinnati Bengals (9-4). They are this year’s AFC South winner and can thank the Titans for this from their loss to the Broncos.

Andrew Luck

Andrew Luck

It was cold conditions for this matchup and once again the Colts found themselves in a 21-0 deficit by the third quarter. While Luck rallied and threw four touchdown passes to make it more of a game, the team still fell short.

For the day, he was 29 for 46, 326 yards and four scores.

One bright spot for the team was wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers. He caught a 69-yard touchdown for the day, had 107 yards and two touchdowns.

As for the Bengals, they maintained control of the AFC North as they still sit two games ahead of the Baltimore Ravens (7-6) and should grab the AFC’s third seed. Good Andy Dalton showed up, going 24 for 35, 275 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Dalton said of the game via the Associated Press, “We know what we’re capable of, and we’ve got some momentum now. But we’ve got to keep it going.”

This week the Bengals will play the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-8) and will get another win (-2.5, 40.5 o/u).


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