Tim Tebow has many critics, perhaps he has as many critics as he has fervent supporters, but despite this been his first season as a starter, many sports writers have been reluctant to cut him some slack. Whether you like his playing style or not, whether you like his stubborn optimism and his persistant inclination to run the option and struggle through the first three quarters just to put on one heck of a 4th quarter, at the end it all comes to this: it might not be pretty, it might not be elegantly pulled off, but the guy knows how to win. And at the end, it is that characteristic that is ultimately guiding the Denver Broncos into the playoffs.
As of press time the Denver Broncos are a -1½ point underdog on the NFL betting lines. Perhaps the handicappers are giving a little too much attention to the fact that the Vikings are in a delicate position and that they ought to win at home no matter what. The Minnesota Vikings are out of the playoffs race, that’s for sure. But that doesn’t mean that 2-9 Vikings don’t owe its fans a win at home. Sure, the Vikings are likely to play without Adrian Peterson for a second straight game. Peterson was sidelined last week with an sprained ankle and it seems unlikely that Leslie Frazier is going to risk one of his most valuable assets in a game that would only make a miserable season a little more tolerable.
The horizon looks a bit bleak for the Vikings who are going to face the motivated and revived Denver Broncos without their four-time All-Pro, who is seventh in the NFL with 872 rushing yards and enters Week 13 tied for the league lead with 11 rushing touchdowns. Tebow and his squad could really make a game out of this one. For the main part Tim Tebow is getting most of the credit for the 5-1 record including 4 straight wins his team has linked together since he was promoted as a starter, after Kyle Orton proved not to be reliable. But some credit, and perhaps a lot of it should go to the Broncos defense and the flexibility they’ve shown to run the option.
With Tebow at the helm the Broncos have been outstanding in the fourth quarter, but then again, they are far from perfect in the first three quarters of a game. Consider for a moment there that the Broncos have scored 11 times in the 4th quarter or in overtime since Tebow stepped, and only 10 scoring drives in the first three quarters. What’s even more important here is that Broncos defense has certainly lived up to the expectations and are have managed to allow 13 points or less in their four previous matches. The same fluctuation goes for Tebow and his passers rating. In the first half alone, Tebow is among the less efficient passers in the league. At 64.9 his passer rating is fourth worst in the league among the 37 quarterbacks that have completed 50 first half attempts. On the other hand, when it comes to the decisive fourth quarter Tebow’s rating goes up to 107.8, only surpassed by Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.