In case there was any doubt before, there’s no doubt now: The Broncos are in complete control of the AFC West.
Today’s 30-23 win over the Chargers gives the 7-3 Broncos a three-game lead over the 4-6 Chargers in the division, and Denver has now swept the season series and owns the head-to-head tiebreaker as well. With the Raiders out of it at 3-7 and the Chiefs even further out of it at 1-9, Broncos fans might as well start preparing to see a home playoff game right now, because with six games to go in the regular season, there’s virtually no chance of the Broncos failing to win their division.
Peyton Manning looked excellent as usual against the Chargers, throwing three touchdown passes — his sixth three-touchdown performance in the Broncos’ last seven games. Manning, who headed into today’s game in a tie with Dan Marino for the second-most passing touchdowns in NFL history, now has 423 career touchdown passes, second only to Brett Favre’s 508.
As Manning continues to make his case for the league MVP award, Broncos linebacker Von Miller is making a strong case that he deserves to be considered for Defensive Player of the Year. Miller sacked Philip Rivers three times, forced him to fumble twice and also had a tackle behind the line of scrimmage on a running play. A dominant presence for Denver’s D, Miller is a big part of the reason that the Broncos have a chance not just to be a good team, but a great team.
And for the rest of the season, greatness is what the Broncos will be trying to achieve. We already know they’re going to win the division, but when Manning came to town, their goals got a lot higher than that. With the division all but wrapped up, the Broncos’ attention now turns toward home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs as the Broncos attempt to march toward the Super Bowl.