“The road to the Super Bowl goes through Denver, where the Broncos have ripped off 11 straight wins. Good luck, AFC,” says the Bleacher Report NFL power rankings of the Los Angeles Times.
And the second-ranked team, the New England Patriots, will have to win in the Mile High City to get to the Super Bowl in the Big Easy.
Another Peyton Manning-Tom Brady battle.
The biggest question at the end of the Broncos season, facing the hapless Kansas City Chiefs, was whether Manning’s backup, Brock Osweiler, would get to throw a pass. He did.
The Broncos had been at the top of most NFL power rankings for the previous two weeks, and their 38-3 rout of the Chiefs guaranteed they would remain No. 1 when the rest of the polls come out Monday. The Detroit Free Press also listed the Broncos-OPatriots as No. 1 and No. 2. The New York Daily News said the Broncos were the only sure thing, and everything else was a "crap shoot."
“The Broncos are finally getting the respect they deserve after winning 10 games in a row and on the verge of potentially going the distance in the playoffs,” said the Online Sports Book Pro.
The Houston Texans were upset by the playoff-bound Indianapolis Colts on the road, losing not only their top seed but even the first week off.
Peyton Manning was at razor-shop best Sunday, tossing balls that seemed to have been thrown out of the reach of Eric Decker and Damaryius Thomas, who both have what the Denver Post called “the gift of the grab," and were pulled in with one hand.
Hold on. Now thathas proved he can run in the NFL, the Broncos will be licking their chops at star veteran running back Willis Mcgahee returning for the AFC championship game from the injury list.
The Patriots showed they were ready, shutting out the Miami Dolphins 28-0.
The San Francisco 49ers were No. 3 on the list, followed by the Seattle Seahawks, who seemed to return to earth with a 20-13 victory at home over the St. Louis Rams. The 49ers started slow but beat the Arizona Cardinals at home 27-13.
The once powerful Atlanta Falcons lost at home, 22-17, to the Tampa Bay Bucs. But at 13-3 they had already won the right to play at home throughout the playoffs.
The first weekend will find the Baltimore Ravens hosting the upstart Indianapolis Colts, led by, the perfect last name for a winner.
The Texans will host the Cincinnati Bengals, who beat the Ravens 23-17 at home.
The Seahawks will be at the Redskins and the Vikings go to Lambeau Field for a rematch with the Packers of a game they won Sunday at home 37-34, led by Adrian Peterson's 199 yards.