Put Up or Shut Up in the AFC West

Brad JamesCorrespondent IDecember 21, 2008

First of all, the Broncos' less than convincing performance against the Bills Sunday was a cause of much exasperation to me Sunday as I contemplated what might have been.

At the moment, it is really difficult to be a fan right now as for every moment of exultation, there is a period of aggravation.

In a season which has seen the Broncos dismantle the Falcons and Buccaneers, losses to the Chiefs and Raiders have been just as egregious as the aforementioned wins have been marvelous.

With that said, the chance still exists for the Broncos to pull out the division title although undoubtedly they've made things much harder on themselves.

If Jay Cutler (a Broncos record 4,210 yards, 24 TDs, 16 INTs on the season) can throw more touchdowns than picks against the Bolts, Denver should be unstoppable and hopefully stymie the Chargers enough to pull out the win.

This game appears to be eerily similar to its predecessor in Week Two and a few key defensive stops or turnovers should determine the game.

It is uncanny how the Broncos' fortunes change if they win the turnover battle on a weekly basis as only two victories (against the Saints and Chiefs) have come when Denver finished on the negative side of the giveaway/takeaway ratio.

Ultimately, the thing that no knowledgeable Bronco fan can overlook is the fact that all the pressure rests on the shoulders of the Chargers know.

The game is at the "Q" (with all due respect to Clevelanders) with a national television audience on NBC checking in.

It could be like the Broncos' season-opening win at Oakland (not necessarily in terms of the final margin of victory as I speak more in terms of the impact of such a win) if they can rise to the occasion.

For all of San Diego's efforts to get themselves back in the AFC West race, I can easily see them falling short because Norv Turner is masquerading as an NFL head coach long after Halloween.

It would be an amazing stocking stuffer to see the Broncos pull out this improbable win but to quote the immortal Chris Berman, "that's why they play the game."