Denver Broncos AFC West Champions After Win Over Tampa Bay Buccaneers

By Mark Stringer
Ron Chenoy – US Presswire

The Denver Broncos defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-23 in Week 13 to claim the AFC West Division. It has been a long time since the Broncos have won their division this early in the season.

The Broncos are now 9-3 and have won the AFC West for the second straight year. The Broncos still have four games remaining on their schedule and each one will be very critical as they try to get home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Houston Texans are atop the AFC at 11-1 while the Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, and Broncos are all two games back with at 9-3. Each game is absolutely critical from here on out as each of those three times holds a tiebreaker over another. New England has the head-to-head tiebreaker over Denver, who holds a tiebreaker over Baltimore with a better division record, but the Ravens beat the Patriots head to head, so the race for the No. 2 seed in the AFC is as wide open as it could possibly be heading into Week 14.

If the Broncos keep improving the way they have over the last several weeks they could push for a Super Bowl appearance, but it will be tough considering the Texans and Patriots are both playing very well and each team holds a head-to-head tiebreaker over Denver.

The Broncos’ first playoff game could very well be a Wild Card matchup against the Indianapolis Colts, which would feature a showdown between QB Peyton Manning and his old team with the man who replaced him, rookie QB Andrew Luck. As exciting as the 2012 NFL season has been thus far and even though the Broncos have already clinched the AFC West, the most exciting part of the football year is definitely yet to come.

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