DENVER - When the Denver Broncos face the Tampa Buccaneers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Sunday, it will be their 800th overall regular season game. With that in mind, let's take a look at the five things to watch for in this week's matchup.
1. Broncos clinch the AFC West if… the Broncos beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the San Diego Chargers lose to the Cincinnati Bengals. This would be the first time the Broncos repeated as AFC West champions since the 1986-1987 seasons.
2. Denver must rely on Manning's arm - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde on defense. They are the best in the NFL at stopping the run, giving up 81.5 yards per game, and are the league worst in passing defense giving up 316 yards per game. Because of that, the success of the Broncos offense will depend heavily on Peyton Manning and the sixth-ranked passing offense. Manning has passes for 3,260 yards with 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions on the season.
3. Broncos have to stop Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin - Tampa Bay's biggest threat on offense is Doug Martin. The rookie running back has rushed for 1,050 yards with nine touchdowns. Martin has a 5.7 yards per carry average in the games Tampa Bay has won. In their losses, Martin's average drops to 3.4 yards per carry.
4. Possible longest winning streak since 1998 - With a win, the Broncos will extend their winning streak to seven games. This would be the longest since Denver won fourteen straight regular season games carrying over from the 1997-98 season.
5. This is the Broncos 800th regular season game - The Denver Broncos played their first game in 1960. From there they have won two Super Bowls and five AFC Conference Championships. The Broncos carry a 414-375-10 overall regular season record.