Needing a win to take home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs the Denver Broncos went into Oakland and took care of business defeating the pitiful Raiders 34-14. The Broncos scored early and often, running out to a 31-0 halftime lead behind another incredible performance by soon to be MVP Peyton Manning. The Broncos veteran quarterback destroyed the NFL records for passing yards and touchdowns in a season, throwing four more touchdown passes in the Broncos victory. Manning finished the regular season with an incredible 5,477 yards passing and 55 touchdowns. As usual Manning spread the ball around, throwing two touchdowns to Demaryius Thomas and strikes to Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno.
Where the game was won: It was all Manning once again. The future Hall of Famer completed 25 of 28 passes, the highest completion percentage in his career in a game where he threw at least 28 passes. Oakland, playing out the string in yet another tough season, provided very little opposition in the game. The Broncos had 458 total yards en route to resting Manning for much of the second half. In addition to the huge game from Manning the Broncos had another game of balanced rushing with Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman and Moreno combined for 129 yards rushing. The Broncos defense, without star passing rusher Von Miller, was huge early, only giving up two late garbage time touchdowns to the Raiders. After re-setting the record for touchdown passes on a season last week when Manning passed Tom Brady’s record, the Broncos quarterback passed Drew Brees’s record for passing yardage in a season. Manning’s passing efficiency rating of 113 was a full 16 points over his career average. Victory in hand the Broncos will wait to see who comes out on top in the AFC wild card round before they host a divisional round game in two weeks time. The Broncos will face the lowest ranked winner between the Bengals, Chargers, Colts and Chiefs.
Up next for Denver: Based on the wild card games the Broncos would likely prefer to face anyone but the Colts who beat them behind in Indianapolis two months ago. The Broncos swept the Chiefs this season, and split with the Chargers. If the Bengals win the Broncos cannot face Cincinnati since they are the third seed in the playoffs. The interesting matchup for Denver could be San Diego. The Broncos lost at home to the Chargers two weeks ago behind a big defensive performance for the Chargers. San Diego did the best job of slowing down the Broncos offense of any team Denver faced this season. If San Diego can manage to defeat the Bengals they’ll travel to Denver. If Cincinnati beats the Chargers the Broncos are guaranteed to play either the Colts or Chiefs. By: Chris Cabrera