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article imageBroncos and Seahawks Super Bowl favorites

By Robert Weller     Dec 22, 2013 in Sports
The Denver Broncos assured themselves of the No. 1 seed in the AFC while the Seattle Seahawks remained the favorite in the NFC despite being upset by the Arizona Cardinals.
Penalties were critical in the Bronco and Cardinal games. The referees had thrown eight flags on the Broncos before penalizing the Houston Texans for the first time. That kept the Texans into the game until early in the fourth, when it became a rout.
Peyton Manning threw four touchdown passes, including an NFL-season record 51st, in the 37-13 victory. He broke Tom Brady’s season-high of 50.
Manning only has one Super Bowl ring, compared to brother Eli’s two.
The Broncos hopes hit an obstacle Monday when it was confirmed that top linebacker Von Miller had suffered a season-ending knee injury.
A referee’s decision to confirm an interception of Seattle Russell Wilson, when replays showed the ball had hit the ground, ended a drive that could have tied the game in the last few minutes. The Cardinals won 17-10, keeping them in the playoff hunt, and also denying Seattle home field throughout the playoffs.
The Seahawks have been ranked No. 1 in most power rankings because of their league-leading defense. But once again their offense showed it could be stopped. They still are the favorites but if they lose again the playoff picture will really be muddled. San Francisco needs to win twice to be in the playoffs at all. Carolina could tie Seattle for the best division record if they win and the Seahawks lose.
The 49ers are healthier than they were last year when they made it all the way to the big game only to lose to the Ravens.
Baltimore was crushed by New England, 41-7, on Sunday, showing they remain a force to be contended with. They likely would have to beat Denver in the Mile High City to go all the way. Baltimore won all its games on the road en route to its Super Bowl win last year.
The Carolina Panthers also must be contended with after beating the New Orleans Saints 17-13.
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