Tim Tebow has captivated the nation by usurping the starting quarterback position from Kyle Orton and reviving the Denver Bronco's playoffs hopes.
The former Florida Gator quarterback came into the NFL with a cult following. He was the type of kid that people either loved or hated.
There is no denying the improvement that Tebow has made to the Broncos. Since taking over for Orton in Week 7, Tebow has helped the Broncos win four of their last five games.
The rookie quarterback has thrust his team back into the hunt for the AFC West title.
With Kyle Orton running the show at the beginning of the season, the Denver Broncos stumbled to a 1-4 start.
Two of their four losses were home defeats to divisional rivals.
It is difficult to say what head coach John Fox would have chosen to do had his backup quarterback been someone other than Tim Tebow.
It's very possible that if someone like Jake Locker had been backing up Orton, the veteran would have retained his starting position.
But Tim Tebow entered the NFL emitting an aura of success, and that aura was enough to get him a chance.
After their bye week, the Broncos made Tim Tebow their starting quarterback in Week 7.
Tim Tebow has been thrust into the spotlight in recent weeks.
Since replacing Kyle Orton as the Broncos' starting quarterback in Week 7, the Florida alumnus has helped Denver win four of its last five games.
The Broncos' numbers may not have improved a lot with Tebow, but there is a key variable that is boosted when Tebow is at the helm.
So, what exactly is this variable?
With Tim Tebow in control of the game, the Denver Broncos believe that they can win. The team exudes a confidence that was simply not there when Kyle Orton was behind center.
Tim Tebow injects passion into the offense and defense, which has led the Broncos on a tear in recent weeks.
This ability is an intangible quality, and it is something that cannot be taught. The ability to motivate is something that is invaluable in a quarterback.
Tim Tebow brings a wealth of leadership skills, and a small amount of quarterbacking ability to the table. When he combines them, he finds a way to win football games.
Philip Rivers has thrown 15 touchdowns this season. In that same period, Rivers has also thrown 17 interceptions.
The Chargers are winless since their bye week in Week 6. They've lost five in a row, which is the third-longest losing streak in the NFL.
Things have not been going well for the Chargers, and I don't anticipate them challenging for the AFC West title.
The Kansas City Chiefs can certainly be classified as a streaky team.
The Chiefs started out the season 0-3. They rebounded by winning their next four games to improve to 4-3.
By the end of their four-game winning streak, the Chiefs looked to be one of the stronger teams in the AFC West.
However, their form would take a turn for the worse—the Chiefs have now lost three in a row.
The Chiefs no longer look to be a threat in the AFC West, but their streaky tendencies mean they are a team that has to be watched closely.
The Oakland Raiders are undoubtedly the Denver Broncos' main competition for the AFC West title this season.
After Jason Campbell sustained a season-ending collarbone injury, the Raiders brought in Carson Palmer.
The Raiders are currently first in the AFC West with a 6-4 record. Coach Hue Jackson has brought a winning mentality back to Oakland.
There is a lot to like about Oakland, and their young talent means that this is a team that has the tools to succeed in the future.
If the Denver Broncos are going to claim the AFC West title, there are certain games that they're going to have to win.
The first of these games falls on December 4th. The Broncos will be taking on the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome, in the first of two critical games that Tebow and Co. will have to win.
To close out the season, the Broncos will take on divisional rival Kansas City Chiefs on New Years Day.
These are both crucial games for the Broncos, and if Tim Tebow and the Broncos can win these games, they'll have taken their first steps to claiming the AFC West title.
If the Denver Broncos want to claim the AFC West title, a win in one of the following games will go a long way at the end of the season.
The first game that will be a tough test for Tebow and the boys will be their away trip to Qualcomm Stadium to take on the San Diego Chargers next week.
The Chargers haven't looked great this season, but they're a team with talent.
Form is temporary, and class is permanent—the Chargers are capable of getting a win over anyone if they play to their abilities.
The Buffalo Bills have looked dreadful in recent weeks. After starting the season so impressively, Fred Jackson and Co. have fallen well short of their abilities.
The Broncos travel away to Buffalo in Week 16 to play a game that may turn out to be pivotal for them.
It will depend on which Buffalo team Denver draws, but if they draw the favorable one, a win is certainly not out of the cards.
The Chicago Bears will make the journey to the Mile-High City to take on the Broncos in Week 14. This is going to be a very difficult matchup for Denver.
The Bears have been one of the best teams in the NFL this season. Jay Cutler has been fantastic for Chicago. While it is true that Cutler is injured, there is a small chance he'll make it back for this game.
Even without Cutler, the Bears still have players like Matt Forte, Devin Hester and Johnny Knox. These explosive players, coupled with the infamous Bears defense, paint a bleak picture for the Broncos.
After the Bears depart, the New England Patriots will be arriving in Denver to try their luck against Tim Tebow and the boys.
New England finally went back to their explosive selves last week against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Patriots appear to be coming into form, and they are a team that boasts so many offensive options.
Denver simply cannot beat a New England Patriots team that is firing on all cylinders.
Hue Jackson is going to lead the Raiders to an AFC West title.
Sorry Broncos fans, but it's just not feasible.
As much as I love Tim Tebow and Tebowmania, the Broncos are not well enough equipped to challenge for the AFC West Title.
After examining the teams' remaining games, these are my projected final standings for the AFC West.
|3.||San Diego Chargers||7-9|
|4.||Kansas City Chiefs||6-10|