Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 12/1/12
Game time: Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET TV: FOX With one of the leading candidates for MVP lining up under center, the Denver Broncos' offense doesn't look too fazed despite the loss of its top running back. Peyton Manning and the Broncos can wrap up an AFC West title on Sunday with a home win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are trying to keep pace for an NFC wild-card spot. A Denver victory would also give the team its first seven-game regular-season winning streak since 1998, when it won its second straight Super Bowl behind John Elway. With last Sunday's 17-9 win at Kansas City, Manning broke a tie with Elway - his boss and Broncos vice president - with his 149th win as a starting quarterback, trailing only Brett Favre (186) for most in NFL history. Manning was 22 of 37 for 285 yards with two touchdowns and an interception against the Chiefs. The victory helped the Broncos (8-3) open a four-game lead over second-place San Diego, but all the four-time MVP wanted to talk about was his running back. "I've got to tip my hat to Knowshon Moreno," said Manning, whose 104.8 quarterback rating and 26 TDs thrown both rank third. "He stepped up and did a heck of a job. Really an impressive effort by him." Moreno, filling in for Willis McGahee after he was lost for the season to a knee injury, ran for 85 yards on 20 carries in his first start since Oct. 30, 2011. He will start again against Tampa Bay. "I thought he had a very good performance," coach John Fox said. "It's the way he's going about his business up to this point. Everybody had great confidence in him and he came through for us." It was also the first time Moreno had been in uniform since losing a fumble in Week 2 against Atlanta. The No. 12 overall pick in 2009 was initially expected to be Denver's No. 3 option in a committee that also includes Ronnie Hillman and Lance Ball after McGahee's injury, but Fox elected to go with Moreno. He ran for 947 yards as a rookie but has since toiled with inconsistency and injury, including a season-ending ACL tear last year. "I never felt discouraged," Moreno said. "I knew what my abilities were. At the same time, I was just waiting for my opportunities to come, and that's what I think I did." The Buccaneers (6-5) are looking to return to their winning ways after last Sunday's 24-23 home loss to Atlanta snapped a four-game run. Tampa Bay still remained tied with Seattle and Minnesota, but the Seahawks own the tiebreaker for the NFC's second wild-card spot. The opportunity for the team's first playoff appearance since 2007 is there, but more hurdles at New Orleans and Atlanta still await. "That's the way this league is," linebacker Adam Hayward said. "People who are supposed to win don't and that leaves the door open. We've just got to take care of our business, the next game coming up, and the ones after that." Josh Freeman completed 19 of 30 passes for 256 yards and Doug Martin ran for two touchdowns to help the Bucs to a 23-17 fourth-quarter lead. But they gave up 353 passing yards to Matt Ryan, who engineered the Falcons' game-winning drive that ended with a Michael Turner touchdown run. Moreno could run into trouble against the NFL's best run defense (81.5 yards a game), but Tampa Bay has struggled to stop the pass all season, giving up an NFL-worst 315.5 yards a game. A four-game suspension for cornerback Eric Wright after his violation of the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances won't help. The Buccaneers already traded their best corner, Aqib Talib, to New England on Nov. 1. E.J. Biggers and Leonard Johnson - who have a combined four seasons of NFL experience and 21 career starts - started against the Falcons. "We're going to practice, meet, and prepare and then we're going to go out to Denver and the play the best game we've played all year," coach Greg Schiano said. "Where that stacks up against Denver and Peyton Manning, I only control half of that. We're going to do our best to make sure we do our best." Manning was examined after having his head slammed to the turf on a play in the second quarter against the Chiefs, but Fox said he was cleared at halftime and reported no change Monday. The Broncos are 5-2 all-time against the Buccaneers, winning the most recent meeting in 2008.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Clint Dempsey undergoing testing for irregular heartbeat

Troubling details emerge from Jeremy Jeffress' DWI arrest

Chargers would welcome Joey Bosa if he signed contract

Falcons rookie Keanu Neal needs surgery on knee

Jerry Jones unhappy with Ezekiel Elliott's dispensary visit

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Texas Tech using fake Twitter accounts to track players

Nike creates custom Air Jordan shoes in tribute to Craig Sager

Browns wanted ‘second-round pick and then some’ for Gordon

Report: Eric Berry to sign next week, be ready to play in Week 1

Lochte to be summoned to appear in Rio, charged with making false report

Carlos Ruiz traded to Dodgers

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

Marshall’s first impression of Fitzpatrick: ‘He was terrible’

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Six worst quarterback situations in the NFL

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

A look at 2016 college football conference changes

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

The 20 best boxing movies of all time

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker