Broncos edge rival Chiefs, Patriots survive scare

Sun Dec 1, 2013 8:42pm EST
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(Reuters) - The Denver Broncos inched closer to a playoff berth with a rousing win over the Kansas City Chiefs while the New England Patriots escaped a near upset to close in on another division title during NFL action on Sunday.

The Carolina Panthers also boosted their hopes for a division crown with an inspired performance from Cam Newton while Nick Foles capped a remarkable first month as a starter by leading the streaking Philadelphia Eagles to victory as the NFL's playoff picture started to take shape.

The visiting Broncos, who handed the Chiefs their first loss of the season two weeks ago in Denver, came back from a 21-7 second-quarter deficit and withstood a late Kansas City rally for a 35-28 win that has the Super Bowl favorites leading the American Football Conference.

Staring at a 14-point deficit less than four minutes into the second quarter, Denver's Peyton Manning took control of the game as he finished with 403 yards passing and five touchdowns, including four to wide receiver Eric Decker.

The win by Denver (10-2) marked the third straight defeat for a Kansas City (9-3) team that opened the season with nine consecutive victories.

Carolina's Newton was forced to remove his black and silver cleats with the Batman insignia painted on the back ahead of the Panthers' game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, per NFL rules, but that did not seem to slow him.

The 2011 Rookie of the Year set up Carolina's first score with a 56-yard run early in the first quarter of a 27-6 victory over the visiting Buccaneers (3-9) that gave his the Panthers a franchise-record eighth straight win.

Newton completed 18-of-29 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns, plus one rushing touchdown for a Carolina (9-3) team that visits the New Orleans Saints next week with first place in the NFC South division on the line.

Philadelphia's Foles completed 21-of-34 passes for 237 yards and three touchdowns in a 24-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals (7-5) that moved the Eagles (7-5), winners of four straight, into a tie atop the NFC East.   Continued...

Dec 1, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) drops back to pass during the second half of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium. Carolina wins 27-6. Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports