Denver head coach John Fox has to be worried that his Broncos just haven’t been the same since losing to the New England Patriots.
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The Denver Broncos only narrowly beat the Miami Dolphins on Sunday thanks to a fourth quarter rally by Peyton Manning – what else is new? But the last month or so has been very un-Manning-like ever since they lost to the New England Patriots. Sure they beat up the Oakland Raiders, but then they were held to just a TD against the Rams in a 23-7 loss, and then they nearly get beaten in their own stadium against the Miami Dolphins, and have to rely on a RB to carry the team as opposed to Manning.
Maybe it’s just a momentary setback, maybe it’s a hangover from the loss to the Patriots, or maybe the Broncos just aren’t ready for postseason contention. Whatever the case may be, this isn’t last-year’s Broncos and even last year’s Broncos couldn’t get the job done when it mattered the most.
Here are the five best teams in the NFL heading into Week 13:
5. Denver Broncos – Peyton Manning is the glue that keeps this team together. When you have a QB like him, you need to make sure your lead is secure before slowing down a declaring victory. That being said, Manning might be nearing the end if he can’t whip the team into 2013-form in time to get a First Round bye.
4. Arizona Cardinals – If the Cardinals can recover from this loss in time to get Larry Fitzgerald back for the home rematch with the Seahawks, Arizona still has a chance at being the No. 1 overall seed. But if they fall again, the roof on this team could collapse.
3. Philadelphia Eagles – We’ve learned in the last few weeks that the Eagles know how to beat up on a below-average team better than any other in football except maybe the Packers or the Broncos. If the Eagles can beat the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, then we’ll know that they’re ready for the postseason.
2. Green Bay Packers – Don’t let the closeness in ranking to the Eagles fool you: The Packers are far and away a better team than Philadelphia. If Peyton Manning or Tom Brady had half the athletic ability of Aaron Rodgers, they’d never lose a game.
1. New England Patriots – The way the Patriots are beating teams these last few weeks is reminiscent of the way they crushed opponents back in 2007. If Brady manages to lead the Patriots to the No. 1 overall seed with this team they might as well start measuring his ring size.