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Broncos to finish season in style

Thursday - 12/27/2012, 8:10am  ET

BARRY WILNER
AP Pro Football Writer

The difference Peyton Manning has made in Denver actually is measurable.

Try from 8-8, which the Broncos were a year ago in winning the AFC West, to 12-3. Try losing their final three games of 2011 and sneaking into the back door of the playoffs to winning their last 11 and moving into the postseason as the NFL's best team.

Those are the numbers, along with Denver (No. 1 in the AP Pro32) being a 16-point favorite over Kansas City (No. 32, AP Pro32), which is 2-13.

What Manning has brought to the Broncos in swagger, confidence and performance that has been impressive even by the four-time league MVP's standards.

Don't look for any temporary respite in any of those areas against the weak Chiefs.

"We talk about that a lot, not coasting, pedal downhill," coach John Fox said. "I appreciate him. I think that's a big reason why he's accomplished what he's accomplished, whether it's here or in Indianapolis. He's a tremendous competitor, doesn't let up. I think that's how you need to be to be successful."

Few teams have been more successful this season than the Broncos. Kansas City has no chance Sunday.

BRONCOS, 37-6

No. 20 Carolina (plus 4) at No. 16 New Orleans

After this, Saints will be unburdened from bounties that damaged season.

BEST BET: SAINTS, 40-27

No. 31 Jacksonville (plus 5
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.