Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 10/28/12
Despite only being 3-3 the Denver Broncos are the best team in the AFC and should be the favorites to represent the conference in the Super Bowl.The Broncos have played the toughest schedule in the NFL this season but their final 10 games rank as the easiest in the league.Peyton Manning has been what Denver expected and more. He has elevated the play of the entire offense and is putting the skill players in positions to make plays.The main beneficiaries of having Manning at quarterback are wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.Thomas already has as many catches through six games as he did in all of 2011. Decker is on pace to eclipse his career bests in catches and receiving yards.Although Denver averages only 3.6 yard per carry, Willis McGahee has done a nice job of making giving the Broncos a threat. Denver was trailing a lot in their first six games so they were forced to throw the ball to come back. Over their final 10 games they play five teams in the bottom 10 in the NFL in rushing defense. McGahee should see an increase in production the rest of the season.Defensively, the Broncos are not the best but they are able to make plays when they need to. They are 10th in the NFL in pass defense and have 18 sacks on the season.Von Miller and Elvis Dumervill are great at creating pressure and that makes it much easier for the rest of the defense.If the defense is given a lead they are good enough to keep the other team from coming back. In their come back win over the San Diego Chargers the defense scored two touchdowns that help propel the Broncos to a victory.The Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans lead the AFC in terms of record but both teams have dealt with significant injuries. The Ravens lost Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb for the season and the Texans lost Brian Cushing for the season. Although they are still good teams they are weaker than they would be with those players.The New England Patriots are very young on defense and an experienced quarterback like Manning will find ways to exploit their inexperience.The Broncos are far from a perfect team and have to sharpen up their running game and get off to better starts but right now they are the best team in the AFC. They may not have played the best football but in the long-term outlook for the rest of the season they are good enough to get to the Super Bowl.
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