Week 16 featured a matchup between two teams that were going in entirely different directions. The host Denver Broncos had won their eleventh game of the year on the road against a tough Baltimore Ravens team in week 15, had clinched the AFC West title weeks ago, and now found themselves in a race to nab one of the top two playoff seeds in the AFC. With the Houston Texans recent struggles and a loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Week 16, a win for the Broncos in week 16 would draw them even with the Texans going into the final week of the season although the Texans would remain the top seed in the AFC playoffs by virtue of a win over Denver back in week 3 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High 31 to 25.
The Cleveland Browns haven’t been in the playoff discussion since hitting their bye in week 10 with a 2 win and 7 loss record. They had a chance to beat Dallas in week 11 before losing by a field goal, and then ripped off three wins in a row before losing to Washington behind their reserve quarterback in week 15. The Browns have shown a lot more fight in recent weeks as they begin to sort out the players to build around for the 2013 campaign, but they certainly had a chance to be spoilers to the Broncos in their week 16 matchup.
The Broncos ended up scoring touchdowns on their first two offensive drives with Peyton Manning touchdowns, and then let their defense aid the cause with several key stops and six quarterback sacks on the day in posting a 34 to 12 win over the Browns. The Broncos can indeed clinch the number two playoff seed with a win next week at home versus Kansas City, and could overtake the Texans if they should lose in week 17. Here are five things that we learned about both teams within their week 16 battle.