Patriots ready to take down NFL Broncos


As usual, the New England Patriots are pushing for the AFC's best record.

A victory in Denver on Sunday (Monday AEDT) and they would become the first team in NFL history with eight consecutive division titles.

While they can't clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs this weekend, they could grab the East simply by Miami not beating the New York Jets.

A first-round bye comes with a Patriots win, too.

Denver has not been one of Tom Brady's favourite places.

The Broncos are the only team Brady has a losing record against: 6-9, 2-7 in Denver, including two losses last season, the second for the AFC Championship.

And the Broncos still have that strong defence.

Brady has been sacked only 12 times in nine games this season, which suggests his protection has improved.

"He plays great all the time whether there's protection or not," Denver defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said.

"We hit him a lot of times last year, but if you remember in the two games, he still came back at the end of both games."

Denver's offence has sputtered badly and can't afford a shootout with New England.

Defeat would deal a severe blow to Denver's designs on defending their Super Bowl title.

Clinging to the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC, the Broncos will have to get through New England, Kansas City, and Oakland, who are a combined 31-8, for that chance.

The Tennessee Titans are making believers out of a lot of NFL fans.

The idea that they could win the AFC South is very much alive after their victory over the Denver.

Should the Titans come out of Kansas City with another win on Sunday, the question might become, are they good enough to not only make the playoffs, but do damage there?

The Chiefs, tied atop the AFC West after last week's win over the Oakland Raiders, are among three teams that can clinch a playoff spot this week.

Beating the Titans is the easiest way, but they could back into a playoff spot if things break their way in games involving Denver, Pittsburgh and Miami.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' visit to the Dallas Cowboys was moved to US TV primetime on Sunday with good reason.

Dallas had their 11-game win streak snapped by the New York Giants, the only team to beat them this season, but the Cowboys have the NFC East and the overall top seed in the conference in sight.

The division belongs to Dallas if they win and the Giants don't, or they tie and the Giants lose.

Tampa has won five straight games; the previous time that happened, the Buccaneers won the NFL title in 2002.

The Week 15 action began on Thursday with Seattle beating Los Angeles 24-3 to win the NFC West title and clinch at least one home game in the playoffs.