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Are Denver Broncos the class of the AFC? Could be

If we learned anything from last year's New York Giants, it was the value of peaking at the right time. This year's Denver Broncos appear to be doing just that. Are they the team to beat in the AFC?

The "NFL GameDay Morning" crew debated the topic Sunday, but couldn't come to consensus. That has to do with timing.

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As Steve Mariucci argued, it's premature to label the Broncos the kings of the conference with the Houston Texans sitting there at 6-1, but Denver possibly is "heading there."

The Broncos have played most of this season on the national stage, thanks to a collection of schedule-makers who opted for a heavy dose of Peyton Manning on prime time. That dynamic has allowed much of the country to follow Manning's progress as the Broncos have gone from rusty to white hot in recent weeks.

Manning's play of late has been nearly perfect. Combine that with a jelling defense and developing ground game, and the Broncos are the clear front-runners in a bad AFC West. The conference is another story.

The Broncos were outmatched by the Texans and couldn't keep pace with the New England Patriots. Both teams hold the tie-breaker over the Broncos, but here's another thing we learned from the Giants last winter: Holding the No. 1 seed guarantees nothing.

It's not about where Denver lands in the seedings come January. It's about the reality of Manning comfortably settling into the offense -- looking better than he has in years -- on a team that can beat you in more than one phase of the game.

That alone makes the Broncos a monster in a weak conference.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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