The Denver Broncos remain the top dogs in the AFC; they lead the AFC West, they own the best record in the conference and they're still averaging 39 points per game.
But Denver has one worry: its loss a couple of weeks ago at New England. At the moment the Broncos are a game up on the Patriots in the battle for that top seed in the AFC, but if New England can make up a game on Denver over this last month of the season, it would own the tiebreaker.
And where would do you think the Broncos would rather play the AFC championship game; at Mile High, or in Foxboro?
That's why Denver can't avoid a slip-up the rest of way, starting with Sunday's game at home against the Tennessee Titans (4:05 pm ET, CBS).
The sportsbooks have installed the Broncos as almost two-touchdown favorites over Tennessee: no surprise there. But unlike earlier this season, when Denver was blowing teams out with regularity, the Broncos have been playing closer games lately.
Titans-Broncos Game Set-Up
Denver is 10-2 this season, after beating rival Kansas City for the second time in three weeks last Sunday 35-28 at Arrowhead Stadium. The Broncos trailed 21-7, roared back to take a 35-21 lead, then hung on for both the victory and the cover as six-point favorites.
So Denver leads the AFC West by a game and the tiebreaker over the Chiefs. It's also a game up on New England in the AFC standings, but as mentioned above the Patriots own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Broncos, thanks to that crazy New England victory over Denver a couple weeks ago.
Denver's only other loss this season came at AFC South-leading Indianapolis.
On the dogged side of this match-up Tennessee is 5-7, after losing to the Colts Sunday 22-14. The Titans led that game 14-12 late in the third quarter, but four Ryan Fitzpatrick turnovers, three of which occurred in Indianapolis territory, spelled doom.
Tennessee out-gained Indy 349-264, out-rushed 'em 162-104 and held the ball for almost 34 minutes, but still couldn't cover the spread as four-point dogs.
So Tennessee, along with the Jets, Steelers and Chargers, is one game behind the 6-6 Ravens and Dolphins in the battle of attrition for that second AFC wild-card berth.
These two teams met most recently two seasons ago, but considering the two quarterbacks that day were Kyle Orton and Matt Hasselbeck, that game means nothing to us as far as handicapping Sunday's contest goes.
Titans-Broncos Betting Line
Most NFL odd shops we visited opened this game with Denver favored by 13 points, the total offered at a nice even 50. But in the early betting many of those books dropped the Broncos to -12 and -11.
As of Tuesday morning Denver could be gotten at -11 at a few shops, while Tennessee was getting +13 at others.
Titans-Broncos Betting Trends
Tennessee is 6-5-1 ATS this season, 5-1 ATS on the road, and 3-0 ATS when dogged by six or more points.
Denver is 7-4-1 ATS this year, 4-1-1 at home and 5-2-1 when favored by a touchdown or more.
The Titans are 7-4-1 on the OVER/UNDERS this season, even though their games have averaged a very average 44 total points per.
The Broncos are 10-2 on the totals this year, as their games have averaged a league-high 65 points.
The totals have gone 5-2-1 the last eight times Denver has been favored by double-digits, going back to last year.
We'll come back to this game later this week and offer up our NFL picks on both the side and the total.