Blog Entry

Broncos gives Raiders hope in AFC West

Posted on: December 24, 2011 4:23 pm
Edited on: December 24, 2011 5:04 pm
Tebow has hit a rough patch in recent weeks. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

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All the Broncos had to do was go to Buffalo and beat a team on a seven-game losing streak. Instead, Denver, who headed into the weekend as the favorites to win the AFC West and host a playoff game, were blown out, 40-14, in front of a sparsely attended get-together that was blacked out locally.

Losses happen -- it's the NFL -- but there's plenty to be concerned with if you're the Broncos: the defense was out of sorts all afternoon and the Bills would've scored more if not for Dave Rayner missing two field goals. And then there's Tim Tebow. It was in the 30s in Buffalo at kickoff, the coldest weather Tebow has ever faced as a starter (seriously), and he looked uncomfortable all day. We don't think it was the weather, just Tebow experiencing the ups and downs of a second-year NFL quarterback.

Despite all the concerns about his ability to throw the football, Tebow had been successful, in part, because he minimized turnovers. Against the Bills, he had four interceptions and a fumble. Those are Tyler Palko numbers, and the result confirmed as much.

Now the Broncos are 8-7 and they'll host the Chiefs next Sunday to determine their postseason fate. With Oakland beating Kansas City in overtime Saturday, Denver needs a victory next week to win the division. If they lose and the Raiders defeat the Chargers, Oakland would be AFC West champs.

So, yes, there's much to be decided.

Jairus Byrd and Spencer Johnson returned Tim Tebow interceptions for touchdowns to help the Bills snap a seven-game skid and seal a 40-14 win over the Broncos on Saturday. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms recap all the action from Ralph Wilson Stadium.

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