Panthers 30, Broncos 10: Carolina Sets Up Showdown With Giants Next Week
Those two will collide in New York next week with the winner earning home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs.
Carolina discarded the likely AFC West Champion Denver Broncos, 30-10. They have clinched at least a tie for the NFC South title and need just one win in their last two games to win it outright.
It was business as usual for Carolina. Steve Smith looked good with 165 receiving yards and a touchdown. DeAngelo Williams blasted a 56-yard touchdown run that put the game out of reach. Jake Delhomme actually looked like a functional quarterback with 253 yards passing and that TD to Smith.
One interesting development is that there are rumblings that some Broncos players felt they had the AFC West won already. The Chiefs were beating the Chargers which would have given the Broncos the division title no matter what happened. San Diego had a miraculous comeback and would end up winning the game. Denver head coach Mike Shanahan said he new that the Chargers had won but many of the players thought the Chiefs closed the deal.
Denver should still be able to win the division soon. They host the reeling Bills next week while San Diego travels to Tampa Bay. If for some reason the Chargers win and Broncos lose, they will face off in Week 17 with the division title on the line. If both are tied at 8-8, San Diego owns the tiebreaker with a better record in AFC West play.