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Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Power Rankings: No. 2 Denver Broncos

By Jeff Legwold

A weekly examination of the Broncos' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 3 | Last Week: 2 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

Seventeen weeks, 606 points, 55 passing touchdowns from their quarterback and plenty of drama later, the Broncos closed out the regular season at 13-3 and as the AFC’s No. 1 seed heading into the playoffs.

The September-to-December run was good enough for the Broncos to finish at No. 2 in ESPN.com’s Power Rankings, just behind the NFC’s top seed heading into the postseason: the Seattle Seahawks.

And now the Broncos get down to the real business of things, having ridden a roller-coaster of a season, including a suspension for Von Miller for the first six games, some off-field issues, plenty of injuries and coach John Fox's open-heart surgery.

It leaves them, the Broncos say, a tested bunch as they head toward the one-and-done games. And with three teams from the AFC West, a much-maligned group before the season opened, the Broncos also feel they are plenty tested on the field as well with a 3-1 mark against the Chiefs and the Chargers in the regular season.

“I think two years ago they were talking about this being the sorriest division in football and I can also remember not too long ago they were saying the same thing about the NFC West,’’ Fox said. “It’s cyclical. There are obviously some good football teams, well-coached football teams. To weather the 16-game regular-season schedule and get in -- it’s not easy. It’s very competitive, very close. Some teams came down to the last weekend; I just think it’s all along great for the game.’’

When all was said and done, the Broncos scored 76 touchdowns and Peyton Manning scored 55 himself, a mark that beats that of any other team overall this season. The Bengals finished second in the league with 54.