To the Denver Broncos' credit, they have gone out and won all of the games they were supposed to win.
The last time Peyton Manning and the Broncos were challenged was October 15th. A Week 6 matchup with the longtime division rival San Diego Chargers, where the Broncos used a historic comeback to even their overall record at 3-3.
After that game, looking at Denver's remaining schedule, it was hard not to see Denver as a heavy favorite in almost every single remaining game.
The only game the Broncos were not expected to win was a Week 15 trip to Baltimore to take on the Ravens in a stadium in which they had never won before.
Even the Ravens were no match for the Broncos. They didn't even make the game interesting.
After the Week 15 beat down of the Ravens, the Broncos have been winners in 9 straight games and currently sit at 11-3. The Broncos' path to the #2 seed in the conference is as simple as winning their last two home games against the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs—franchises that have both seen better days.
Denver will easily finish the season at 13-3, and avoid playing in the wildcard round of the playoffs, which is great.
The problem is that Denver essentially has a month off until their next challenge, which is very likely going to be a rematch with the New England Patriots. The Patriots also happen to be the last team to beat the Broncos.
Now I know, in the NFL, as soon as a team starts thinking the team across from them isn't good enough to compete, they get beat.
The Broncos have done very well in preparing for every team on the schedule, and taking every game seriously. Realistically though, throughout their complete domination of every unfortunate team that the NFL has scheduled against them, the Broncos haven't felt any pressure.
By the time the Denver Broncos take the field against the New England Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs, it will have been nearly 3 full months since they were ever in any danger of losing a game.
The Broncos have been dominant for a reason, though, and the greatness of this team cannot be discounted. The relative ease of their schedule leading up to the playoffs is as much a blessing as it is a curse.
Denver will go into the playoffs with plenty of rest and home field advantage in at least one game if they keep dong what they have been doing.
Hopefully they'll remember how to respond when the team across from them is on their level.
Peyton Manning has been here before.