What Tim Tebow's Win in San Diego Means for Remainder of Broncos' 2011 Season

Christopher SmithCorrespondent IIINovember 28, 2011

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 27:   Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos scrambles away from Na'il Diggs #58 of the San Diego Chargers during the fourth quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on November 27, 2011 in San Diego, California.  The Broncos went on to win 16-13.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos have won four straight games with Tim Tebow at the helm and have gone 5-1 since making him the starting quarterback.

There's five games remaining in the 2011 schedule, and Denver is suddenly in the hunt for the AFC West title.

Denver's win on Sunday against the Chargers gives the AFC West some actual structure and moves it further away from the "Wild West" that it was just two weeks ago.

Kansas City and San Diego are not completely out of this hunt after Week 12, but they've each taken a serious hit as they fall a full three games out of the lead behind the Oakland Raiders.

What does all of this mean for Denver as they move into the last weeks of the year?

What seemed impossible six weeks ago is now very feasible.

The Broncos sit only one game back from Oakland as both teams head into what should be an easy Week 13.

Denver travels to Minnesota to face the 2-9 Vikings on Sunday morning.

Oakland will go cross country to battle the surprisingly competitive Miami Dolphins.

Denver has the advantage of facing a Vikings team that looks to be without Adrian Peterson.

On the other hand, Oakland has a long plane-ride to battle Matt Moore, Reggie Bush and a Dolphins team that's finally winning games in 2011—and should have beat Dallas on Thanksgiving.

This outlook would not be nearly as exciting had Denver fallen victim to the Chargers for the fifth consecutive time on Sunday.

Tebow and his band of merry men found another way to win and are now 2-0 in overtime while Tim is calling the shots.

Were it not for this unlikely and down-to-the-wire win in the last minute of overtime, the Broncos would be two full games out of the lead and on a must-win basis.

At this point, the Broncos need only beat the teams they're expected to and hope for Oakland and newcomer Carson Palmer to slip up.

The Broncos have the luxury of playing three of their five remaining games at home while only traveling to Buffalo after their next matchup with Minnesota.

Oakland will play on the road three times to finish up—and one of those road trips ends in Lambeau to face the scariest and most efficient offense that's ever graced the field.

Even being one game out, it still feels as if Denver is in control of their own destiny in 2011.

Week after week Denver has challenged teams to stop their come-from-behind, play-when-it-matters-most, read-option offense and not one has risen to the occasion.

This will need to continue for Tebow to have a chance to make some noise in the postseason.

As outlandish as this statement would have seemed in the first weeks of the year, we can now say that Tebow has the chance to make a serious statement in the playoffs in 2011.

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 27:   Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos prays before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on November 27, 2011 in San Diego, California.  The Broncos went on to win 16-13 in overtime.   (Photo by Harry How
Harry How/Getty Images

What's the biggest obstacle in the way of Oakland and Denver this year?

Believe it or not, Kyle Orton.

Orton has the chance in each of the last two weeks of the year to spoil the postseason promise of both of these teams as Oakland travels to Kansas City in Week 16 before the Chiefs finish up the year in Denver on New Year's day.

It was widely believed early on in the year—by Tebowmaniacs and Supportin' Orton Fans— that Orton could be the reason the Broncos would miss the playoffs again in 2011.

Now, as a member of the Chiefs, he may still live up to that legacy.

It will be up to Tebow to save the Broncos from destruction by Orton for the second time in 2011.