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NFL Odds: Denver is close to winning the AFC West after beating San Diego

Written by Andrew Scofield   
Thursday, 22 November 2012 09:04

Denver is close to winning the AFC WestCan we see a wild comeback in the AFC West?

Well, yes, a wild comeback early in the season is what led to such a drastic separation in the division positions ahead of the last six weeks of the betting season. That big comeback probably be enough to end any drama in the race for the division title this year.

Looking to Thanksgiving Day, there is little intrigue in this division. It belongs to Denver. The Broncos almost secured a second division title in a row with his visit on the San Diego Chargers, in a game in which the Broncos had much more control than the score indicates.

It was the fifth straight win for Denver, now 7-3 mark. San Diego is in second place, but his record fell to 4-6 after losing their fifth game in the last six games. Denver essentially has a four-game lead with six weeks left in the season as they swept San Diego and is going for the tie-breaker criteria.

The Broncos can win the division title as early as December 2. While Denver has seven wins, the other three teams in the division have a combined eight wins.

However, Denver is not taking anything for granted. Know from personal experience (albeit under different administrations) that large benefits can be lost. Denver had a three-game lead with three games in 2008 and lost the division. The team started 6-0 in 2009 before finishing 8-8 and being eliminated from the playoffs. The Broncos have often talked about these advantages wasted in the last couple of weeks. It will remain a topic to talk until the division is officially in power. The Denver head coach John Fox was not celebrating after beating the Chargers.

"In this league, you are two weeks of a disaster," said Fox

Fox's position is understandable. NFL teams can not take your foot off the accelerator, and never know what the future has in store for them.

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But this can not be denied: Denver is by far the best team in the division. He's playing at a high level and no other team is showing signs of being able to do something about it. The Chargers are out of sync on offense and quarterback Philip Rivers is making too many mistakes to allow the winner plays football. The Oakland Raiders are 3-7 and have allowed 135 points in the last three weeks, and the Kansas City Chiefs are 1-9 and lead foja the race for the first overall pick in 2013.

This division belongs to Denver, but a return unexpected. However, it was a miraculous comeback that propelled Denver season and put the Chargers in freefall.

In an edition of "Monday Night Football" October everything changed in the AFC West as the Broncos rallied, 24-0, at halftime and went on to win 35-24 in San Diego. The Chargers were 3-2 and the Broncos 2-3 before that game. If San Diego had not allowed one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history, would have been in control of the division. Instead, the Broncos left the Chargers tied the night in first place in the AFC West.

Neither team has been the same since.

Since halftime of Week 6, Denver has outscored its opponents 166-74. The Broncos are playing at a high level in all phases of the game. They look like a team that is preparing for a long career in January.

The Denver quarterback, Peyton Manning (who threw for 270 yards and three touchdowns this week), is playing MVP level, and second-year linebacker, Von Miller, is becoming a serious candidate for Player Defensive Player of Year. He had three sacks and forced two fumbles against the Chargers and has 13 catches on the season. The Broncos defense, which has been great progress in the last month, San Diego forced to fail in their first 12 attempts on third down. The Broncos had a stretch in which they left their rivals with zero conversions in 26 third-down attempts over a span of three games.

"Denver is a great team," said head coach of San Diego, Norv Turner. "It's probably the most complete team we've faced in the three phases of the game."

Turner's team clinging to a faint hope of qualifying for the playoffs and therefore, Turner is clinging to a faint hope of keeping their jobs. The problem is not the defense of San Diego. He is playing well. On offense, however, the team is not doing enough. The Chargers managed just two first downs in the first half, and the only reason the Chargers were in the game was the defense scored the first nine points of the team.

Rivers threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. He has lost 43 turnovers since the start of last season, leading the NFL in that span. Had two fumbles that were recovered by San Diego.

In fairness to Rivers, the offensive line is a mess and his players did little to help. But that's what happens when a team comes out of the race. Players do not respond. Almost every player on the Denver template is responding, which is another reason I have practically won the AFC West.

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