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Denver (8-6) won’t likely have that perk, but will own the AFC West by beating the Bills and Chiefs. The Broncos’ mystique, built during a six-game winning streak featuring stunning comebacks led by Tim Tebow, took a hit when they were handled by New England on Sunday.

Not that the Broncos have ever taken the easy route this year.

“We’re excited about where we’re at,” Tebow said, “and we’re going to continue to be positive and stay motivated and just try to improve, like we’ve done every single day in practice.”

Oddly, although the Broncos control the AFC West, all four teams remain alive to win the division. Even the Chargers, who were 4-7 and on a six-game slide before winning their last three games.

“There are more outs this year with wild-card scenarios and who knows what, but one thing that stays true in all scenarios is we have to win our next two games,” Chargers QB Philip Rivers said. “Let’s just worry about us and what we control.”

Ah, control. Not always an easy thing to hang on to.