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Horse Tracks: Denver Broncos show signs of life in win over the New York Jets

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Okay, if you have to win, go ahead and shut ‘em out.

New York Jets v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Can you believe that?

On Sunday, the hapless Broncos managed to pull out their fourth win of the season against the the New York Jets. It was a game where the defense showed the kind of dominance that had, up until this season, commanded respect around the league. Mistakes and penalties were minimized. There were no boneheaded fumbles from the return man. Who were these folks who snuck into the Broncos locker room, stole the throwback blue-style uniforms, and came out swinging?

We haven’t seen this kind of fight in the Broncos in months.

There are those among us who will cross their arms and stamp their foot over the win because it will throw the 2018 draft position into chaos. To them I say, pffffftttt! Worry about the draft in three weeks when there’s no more Broncos football to be watched. No matter what happens, the Broncos will draft where they are supposed to draft. Wins are hard to come by in the NFL, especially for this Denver Broncos squad, and Sunday’s unexpected shutout victory is one that deserves to be savored.

I’ll take the win on Sunday as a sign that there’s still life in these Broncos. Despite all evidence to the contrary, the will to win hasn’t been vanquished. It turns out, it was just overshadowed by Trevor Siemian’s checkdowns, Isaiah McKenzie’s fumbles, and Demaryius Thomas’ buttery fingers. Go figure.

It’s always better to be ending a lousy season on an uptick than in the unchecked swirl into the toilet of incompetent teams. I’m inspired for the future by what I saw from the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Who knows, we may yet win another one.

HORSE TRACKS

Cover 4: Broncos race by Jets 23-0 to snap skid
These are the four pieces of information you need to know following the Broncos' win.

Why it happened: Broncos 23, Jets 0
The Broncos jumped out to an early lead and never looked back as they shutout the Jets 23-0.

From the Pocket: Trevor Siemian avoids turnovers and finds success
After his 200-yard, one-touchdown game in Sunday's win over the Jets, Trevor Siemian broke down how they finally got the turnover-free game they've been chasing.

Demaryius Thomas plays 'inspired football' as he moves past Shannon Sharpe
In the game, the catch meant a 9-0 lead for the Broncos. In Thomas’ career, it meant far more.

2018 NFL Draft: Denver Broncos team needs, draft picks, prospects to watch - CBSSports.com
With their 2017 season basically over, it's time for Broncos fans to turn their attention to the draft

Grading the Broncos in their 23-0 victory over the Jets – The Denver Post
Quarterback Trevor Siemian rebounded from a dreadful performance at Miami with a turnover-free outing that kept Denver in control.

New York Jets offer relief the Denver Broncos, Vance Joseph needed - Denver Broncos Blog- ESPN
While the Broncos have been formally eliminated from the postseason, the win Sunday ended their longest losing streak since 1967.

Josh McCown breaks left hand in Jets' loss to Broncos - NFL.com
New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown headed to the locker room after taking a hit late in the third quarter against the Denver Broncos. Coach Todd Bowles announced he broke his left hand.

Chargers cruise to stay tied for top of AFC West – ProFootballTalk
Philip Rivers didn't really look like an old guy. At least until the Chargers gave him the fourth quarter off. The Los Angeles domination of Washington was so complete that backup quarterback Kellen Clemens took the field with 11 minutes and 11 seconds left, just because it was already well in ha...

Derek Carr after Chiefs dominate Raiders: 'We sucked' - NFL.com
The Chiefs dominated the Raiders for three quarters on the way to a 26-15 victory Sunday. Derek Carr had a harsh review for how his team performed after the game.

Chiefs rediscover Kareem Hunt, winning formula against Raiders - NFL.com
The Kansas City Chiefs made sure to get running back Kareem Hunt going early on Sunday and they rediscovered their winning formula in a much-needed win over the Oakland Raiders.

NFL Playoff Picture - 2017-18 NFL Standings - CBSSports.com
2017-18 NFL playoff picture seeds and scenarios. See the NFL Playoffs standings and wild card game schedule if the season ended today.

Larry Fitzgerald passes Randy Moss on receiving list - NFL.com
Another week, another milestone for Larry Fitzgerald. On Sunday, the future Hall of Fame Arizona Cardinals wide receiver passed Randy Moss for third on the all-time receiving yards list.

Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota injures knee but finishes game
Marcus Mariota suffered a knee injury in the Titans' loss to the Cardinals but was able to finish the game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston denies report of rift with coach Dirk Koetter
Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston pushed back against a report that said there is growing tension between him and coach Dirk Koetter. Koetter described the relationship with his starting QB as "extremely consistent."

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones put forth resolution to table Roger Goodell contract talks for 6 months, per memo
On Dec. 1, just days before Roger Goodell signed a five-year extension, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones submitted a resolution to table the commissioner's contract talks for six months, according to a confidential memo obtained by ESPN.

Tom Savage of Houston Texans taken to locker room, seen with hands twitching after hit
Texans quarterback Tom Savage was seen with his hands twitching on the ground following a hit from 49ers defensive end Elvis Dumervil. Savage would return to the game and play one series before he was ruled out for the rest of the game.

Pittsburgh Steelers, fans pay tribute to Ryan Shazier
Symbols of support for recovering Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier were in abundance Sunday at Heinz Field, including, among other things, dozens of players' T-shirts featuring the No. 50 with a yellow circle around it.

Sheldon Richardson, Quinton Jefferson ejected in final moments of loss – ProFootballTalk
The Seahawks had a frustrating loss to the Jaguars on Sunday afternoon and they let those frustrations boil over on the field in the final moments of the game.

Belief persists that John Dorsey will try to hire his own coach – ProFootballTalk
Yes, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has said (twice) that coach Hue Jackson will be back in 2018. In three weeks, he may feel differently. The persistent sense in league circles is that new G.M.

Cardinals’ defense shuts down Titans’ offense for hard-fought win – ProFootballTalk
The Titans entered today as the favorites to win the AFC South, but they sure didn't look like a playoff team in Arizona. The Cardinals' defense absolutely dominated the Titans' offense in a 12-7 win that raises questions about whether the Titans can legitimately consider themselves contenders.

Gettleman, Caserio, Wolf among the candidates for Giants job – ProFootballTalk
Unlike the Browns, the Giants don't plan to hire a new G.M. before the season ends. Like the Browns, the Giants may hire a guy who was fired from another G.M. job in the offseason. As PFT noted several days ago, former Panthers G.M. Dave Gettleman has emerged as the front-runner for the job.

Seahawks' Quinton Jefferson tries to jump in stands and fight Jaguars fans - CBSSports.com
Someone apparently threw a drink at Jefferson as he left the field and he was not happy about it

Marvin Lewis' bleak week stands out for wrong reasons, plus more Week 14 notes - CBSSports.com
Lewis among several coaches on hot seat, Cam's amazing run, and more from Week 14 in the NFL