I thought the Broncos would be one of the league's toughest teams this season, but early on, they looked slightly out of sync, and it led to some early season losses. With their win today, however, the Broncos are on track for a comfortable playoff birth, and no team looks more dangerous right now.
Peyton Manning quietly put together a 300+ yard game, throwing just one touchdown. While Manning's performance was noteworthy, it was the Broncos' defense that put this game well out of reach for the Panthers.
Cam Newton was able to toss a pair of touchdown passes, but he also chalked up a pair of interceptions to offset his success. The Panthers' running game was no help either. All runners combined, the Panthers mustered just 52 yards on the ground.
At 6-3, the Broncos are very much in the running for a first round bye on the AFC side of the playoff bracket. They're currently tied for third in the conference with the Patriots, behind only the Texans and the Ravens, but unlike those teams, the Broncos have a soft schedule on the horizon. In the coming weeks, the Broncos play the Chargers, Chiefs and Buccaneers. No game in the NFL is an open and shut deal, but those look like three more wins for the Broncos.
The Broncos will have a shot at the Ravens in week 15. If they can pull out that win, look for this team to get a first round bye, and they'll be all ready to make a deep playoff run. It took awhile for the Broncos to get their feet under them, but now that they've gained their balance, they may be the toughest team in the AFC.