Friday, December 28, 2012
Final Word: AFC West
By Bill Williamson
Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 17:
Broncos are dominating: The Broncos enter Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Chiefs as the NFL’s hottest team. The Broncos are 12-3 and have won 10 straight games, which is a current NFL high. The Broncos are ranked No. 3 on defense and No. 4 on offense in the NFL. They aren’t just winning, they are cruising. All 10 wins during their streak have come by seven points or more. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Denver is the fourth team in NFL history to win 10 or more consecutive games by at least a touchdown. The NFL record-holder is Peyton Manning's 2005 Colts. They won 13 straight games by at least a touchdown.
Sunday's game will likely be Norv Turner's last as the head coach of the Chargers.
Winning for Norv? Last year, in the season finale, the Chargers thought they were sending Norv Turner out the right way with a win at Oakland. It knocked the Raiders out of the playoffs. And it was enough to impress Chargers owner Dean Spanos. He surprisingly kept Turner in part because of the way his players responded to him. This year, a third straight season with no playoff berth in San Diego, the Chargers are looking to win three of their final four games. Still, if the Chargers do beat Oakland at home, don’t expect it to help Turner. This is very, very likely his final game in San Diego.
Raiders have made penalty progress: The Raiders set NFL records for penalties and penalty yardage in 2011. When Dennis Allen took over, he said improving the penalty issue was a top priority. He preached discipline and Oakland started the season much improved in the area, but they have reverted to old habits as the season has gone on. Oakland isn’t terrible in the penalty department, but far from great. Oakland has committed 100 penalties -- tied for the eighth most in the NFL -- for 872 yards. It will continue to be an area of emphasis for Allen.
Chiefs are on cusp on top pick: The 2-13 Chiefs will secure the No. 1 overall pick in the draft with a loss to Denver or a Jacksonville win over Tennessee. The Chiefs hold the tiebreaker because they have played an easier schedule. The Chiefs have never owned the No. 1 pick in the common draft era. They owned the top pick in the AFL once and scored big. In 1963, the Chiefs took defensive tackle Buck Buchanan, who played 13 years for the Chiefs and went to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Broncos and Chiefs are different ends of spectrum: Denver is 5-0 in the AFC West and is looking for a division sweep. Kansas City is 0-5 in the division and even worse, 0-11 in the AFC.