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Broncos still in command of AFC West

Denver can clinch division with victory in finale over Chiefs. Terry McCormick

Print This December 19, 2011, 03:01 PM EST

The Denver Broncos' six-game winning streak with Tim Tebow at quarterback went by the boards Sunday against New England.

But as Woody Paige of the Denver Post points out in his column, the Broncos still control their own fate in the AFC West, so much so that Sunday's game against Buffalo really doesn't even apply to the division race.

If the Broncos can win their Jan. 1 finale against the Kansas City Chiefs, they will claim the AFC West title, no matter what the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers, who are both one game back for now at 7-7, do with their two remaining games.

The further irony in the fact that the Broncos remain in firm control is that Kansas City's quarterback for that finale would be Kyle Orton, barring injury between now and then. Orton began the year with the Broncos, and was eventually benched by John Fox, who handed the controls to Tebow. That began the Broncos' march back from a 1-4 start to where they are now at 8-6 and atop the division.

Denver then granted Orton's agent's request to be released, where the quarterback-desperate Chiefs claimed him off waivers. Who knew at the time that Orton could be the final obstacle potentially between his former team and the postseason.

Follow me on Twitter @TitanInsider247 and @terrymc13

Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com

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