ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- With two games remaining in the regular season the Denver Broncos would certainly like to have a division title and the AFC’s top seed when all is said and done in December.
But there is the matter of history as well. Over these next two weeks, the Broncos offense and quarterback Peyton Manning are nudging toward a pile of records that could be broken if the Broncos have to play it honest all the way through the regular-season finale in Oakland.
So, after some numbers crunching and tip of the holiday hat to the fine folks at ESPN Stats and Information, here are some numbers of note as the Broncos prepare for a trip to Houston:
Should the Broncos win the AFC West title -- they would if they win their final two games or any combination of one more win to go with a Chiefs loss -- it will be the first time in the franchise’s history the team has won three consecutive division titles. If that happens San Diego will have finished second in two of those years -- 2011 and 2012 -- while the Chiefs would be second this year.
The Broncos need 55 points to break the league’s single-season scoring record. With 535 points currently in hand, they are already the highest scoring team in league history after 14 games. They are also already the highest scoring team in the franchise’s history. If they didn’t score another point their total would be the eighth highest single-season total in NFL history. If they score 26 points over their final two games they would rise to the No. 2 spot. The 2007 New England Patriots set the record with 589 points. With 65 points over their final two games, the Broncos would also become the league’s first 600-point team.
The Broncos aren’t considered one of the league pound-it-out teams on offense, but they are still tied with Cincinnati for sixth in rushing attempts this season 414. Their 16 rushing touchdowns also tie them for second in the league, with San Francisco.
After 14 games the Broncos are one of seven teams that have been penalized at least 117 times this season, including penalties that were declined. Five of those seven teams also reside west of the Mississippi, one albeit by just a few miles. But the leaders in the yellow flag parade so far this season are Seattle (125), Oakland (125), Tampa Bay (125), Houston (120), St. Louis (117), Denver (117) and Buffalo (117). For the Broncos they have been flagged the most for offensive holding -- 20 times, five by right tackle Orlando Franklin, four by left tackle Chris Clark -- and 13 times for defensive holding.
With 47 touchdown passes in 14 games Manning needs three more to tie the single-season record of 50, set by Tom Brady in 2007. After 14 games in 2007, Brady had 45 touchdown passes and threw three against Miami in Week 16 and two more against the New York Giants in the regular-season finale. The Patriots threw the ball 75 times in those two games combined.
In his career against the Texans, Manning is 16-3 with 44 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
The Broncos, coming off a loss last Thursday night to the Chargers haven’t lost two games in a row since Weeks 2 and 3 last season, losses to Atlanta and Houston. Since that Sept. 23, 2012, loss to Houston, the Texans are 12-15 with a current 12-game losing streak. The Broncos are 23-4 in regular-season games since that loss to the Texans last season and have won their four games following those losses by an average of 18.3 points.