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Published on 11/26/2012 at Mon Nov 26 11:00.
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(Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)

With five games left to go, the Denver Broncos have a five-game lead in the AFC West.  A win and they’re in.

The Broncos (8-3) can clinch their division this weekend with a victory at home over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-5). Alternatively, the Broncos can wrap things up by default if both San Diego (4-7) and Oakland (3-8)  lose this week, eliminating themselves from contention.

Next week, the Chargers will take on the Bengals (6-5) and the Raiders will take on the Browns (3-8).  Denver’s best bet is to earn a victory themselves, rather than count on their divisional rivals to continue stumbling.

The Chargers could finish 8-8, or even one game better.  They have done it before and the Broncos know it.  

In 2009, the Broncos 6-0, needed just three wins to wrap up the division.  The team stumbled to finish the season 2-6 as San Diego claimed the division with an 8-8 record.

These Broncos are not going to let that happen.

“It feels great,” wide receiver Demaryius Thomas said after the game.  “We just have to keep going and our goal is just to keep winning and get to the big one.  We’re going to take every team one at a time, take it week by week and just going to keep going and try to keep winning.”

In 2009, the Broncos did not take it one game at a time.

Former head coach Josh McDaniels had a chart mapped out of all the Broncos’ playoff possibilities, learning weekly which teams needed to win or lose to increase Denver’s chances of earning a playoff berth.

“He didn’t know any better because he was young and new to head coaching,” one member of the team’s staff recalled last December, when mentioning McDaniels’ 2009 collapse.  “(Coach) John (Fox) is smarter, he has them take it one game at a time.”

The Broncos can control their own destiny by winning their seventh straight game of the season.  And that is the team’s next goal.

  • Big_Pete

    We also just signed Hester (not the good one). There’s no word on how/when he’ll play.

  • Jon Broncos Heath

    Per Denver’s Patrick Smyth, the Broncos only need SD to lose as the Broncos have tie-breakers over Oak.

  • stuckinraiderland

    Nervous? Me? Why would I feel nervous, just because this scenario feels familiar… a little TOO familiar? This team is different. This team is different. Very different. Shut UP, voice in my head! It’s not the same at all!!!!! Peyton will make it all better.

  • MeOMy

    Even if we loose out and Raiders win out we get the tie breaker on games in common.

  • Big_Pete


  • Big_Pete

    I thought it was if the Chargers AND Raiders lose next week, we clinch. Naturally, we clinch with a win regardless of what either of those two teams do.

  • Jon Broncos Heath

    That’s what I originally thought as well, but Smyth says otherwise.

  • Big Daddy

    It does not surprise me a bit that McCHEAT counted his chickens. Before they hatched while I hate what he did to my team if he were’nt so terrible at his job there would have been no need for Elway to come in and get us Fox and ultimately Manning the only thing he did right was drafting Thomas instead of Dez Bryant ,Ayers is playing out well also Moreno will prove to be a worthy investment but we could have gotten him in round 2,they say everything happens for a reason and I am as happy a Bronco fan as I can be nowadays but I screamed for em when we were 4-12!

  • eljbow

    Good, can’t wait to get my 2012 division champs hoody.