A weekly examination of the Broncos' ESPN.com Power Ranking:
Preseason: 3 | Last Week: 3 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002
Sometimes people wonder about how Peyton Manning throws the ball these days, about how he plays in his post-surgery career, whether there is a glove or not on his right hand. But the Denver Broncos quarterback had more than enough arm strength to move the Broncos up a spot in ESPN.com’s NFL Power Rankings this week.
Manning’s 403-yard, five-touchdown effort in the 35-28 win over the Kansas City Chiefs was his third 400-yard passing game of the season and his sixth game with at least four touchdown passes. His 4,125 yards passing are the most in league history after 12 games.
And his 41 touchdown passes are more than he’s had in all but one of his previous seasons as a starter. The only other season he’s topped 40 touchdown passes was 2004, when he threw 49.
The win also gave the Broncos a firm grip on the AFC West race and put them on the inside lane for home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs. The win also meant the Broncos had gone 3-1 under interim head coach Jack Del Rio as John Fox returned to the team Monday for the home stretch.
The Broncos don’t face a team with a winning record in their last four games of the regular season starting Sunday with the Tennessee Titans (5-7) at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
“We’re just glad we came out 3-1 this quarter, and we just want to build some momentum going into these last four games and build it into the playoffs,’’ defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said.