But winners are never crowned in early January, and there is still a good month of football left before parades are planned and trips to Disney World take place. That being said, overlooking what the Broncos have done this year is just ignorant.
They finished the season on an astounding 11-game winning streak and a 13-3 record, tied with the Atlanta Falcons for best in the NFL and good enough for first place in Matt Miller’s Bleacher Report end of the season power rankings.
There is no doubt that the Denver Broncos are the favorites to win the Super Bowl.
No one is hotter going into January and no one is more balanced.
Not only has Denver ripped-off win after win, but they have done it in convincing fashion, outscoring their opponents 481-289.
Von Miller and Peyton Manning are both heavy favorites for end-of-the-year awards, as is head coach John Fox and executive John Elway.
From top to bottom, no one is better than Denver.
Manning has this team cruising into the postseason and a big part of that is how well the future Hall of Famer has been playing.
He boasts a 105.8 quarterback rating and 4,659 passing yards with 37 touchdowns to only 11 interceptions on a 68.6 completion percentage.
No. 18 finishes 2012 with a 3.75 WPA (Win Probability Added, an advanced NFL stat that measures the impact a player had on the outcome of a game) and a 171.5 EPA (Expected Points Added, another advanced stat that measures the the impact a player had on the score of a game). His WPA is sixth in the NFL and his EPA is good for third.
But, you didn't need advanced stats to tell you that Manning has made an incredible impact with the Broncos.
And that is a good thing because he has been to the playoffs before. He has also won a Super Bowl before. Manning knows what it takes to get through a grueling postseason and come out victorious. His experience will be invaluable for Denver.
That has already shown as the Mile High City has the fifth ranked passing attack in addition to the second ranked scoring offense. Manning has been sitting pretty in the pocket behind an offensive line ranked second in pass protection.
With a ground game that averages 114.5 yards per game, this is an offense that will be a burden for defenses to try and slow down.
However, Denver is blessed with a defense that is able to halt opposing teams in their tracks.
Von Miller leads a unit that is ranked third in defending the run and one that can also get after the quarterback. The Defensive Player of the Year candidate has 18.5 sacks on the year, third in the NFL.
Rookie Derek Wolfe has been playing at a dizzying rate, racking up 40 tackles and 6 sacks. The Cincinnati prospect is a hazard for the men instructed to try and block him.
Wesley Woodyard leds the teams with 117 total tackles and this is a squad that no offense wants to match up against. Denver has limited opponents to just 289 total points on the year. The 290.8 yards per game that the Broncos have held their competitor’s to is second in the league.
If one still thinks that an offense can score at will in Denver, it is time to think again. Elvis Dumervil and company are only allowing 18.1 points per game.
Rival quarterbacks do not want to go up against a secondary ranked third in defending against the pass. Only 16 touchdowns have been thrown against the Broncos on the year.
To make matters worse for the AFC, the road to the Super Bowl goes through the Mile High City. This is a team that is showing no signs of slowing down playing in a city that cannot get enough of their Broncos.
Manning is playing at an MVP level and getting the most out of his receivers. The smash-mouth defense has been impenetrable. Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno are both running like crazy. This team hasn’t lost since Oct. 7.
Denver is about to experience the ride of a lifetime.
Are they a lock to win the Super Bowl?
No, but, at this point, the Broncos are the definitive favorite to be celebrating in New Orleans come February.