Oakland, CA (World Wide Gamble) - Led by a resurgent Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos
are on a roll.
And now the AFC West champs are eyeing a potential first-round bye following their eighth straight win.
Manning tallied his 5,000th career completion and threw for 310 yards and a touchdown in the Broncos' 26-13 win over the Oakland Raiders.
Manning joined Brett Favre (6,400) as the only NFL quarterbacks with 5,000- plus completions.
Manning, who completed 26-of-36 passes, has tossed 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions during his torrid eight-game stretch for Denver (10-3), which is in the midst of its longest winning streak since the 1998 squad began the year 13-0.
The Broncos were tied with the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens for the No. 2 seed in the AFC coming in, but sat fourth in the standings based on tiebreakers.
Denver visits Baltimore next Sunday.
Knowshon Moreno finished with 119 yards rushing and a score on a career-high 32 carries, while Eric Decker recorded eight receptions for 88 yards in the win.
Oakland, meanwhile, is headed in the complete opposite direction.
Carson Palmer had 273 yards through the air on 19-of-30 efficiency with two scores and an interception for the Raiders (3-10), who suffered their sixth straight defeat.
Raiders head coach and former Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen returned to the sidelines Thursday following the death of his father, Grady Allen. The former NFL linebacker was originally hospitalized last week with heart problems and passed away at the age of 66 on Tuesday.
Darren McFadden returned after missing the previous four games with an injured ankle and finished with 52 yards on the ground -- 36 coming on the first play of the second half -- on 11 totes. He added a touchdown reception.
Already holding a 13-0 advantage midway through the second quarter, the Broncos drove to the Oakland 28, but Phillip Adams made a diving interception at the goal line on an under thrown Manning pass intended for Matthew Willis in the back right corner of the end zone.
Oakland, which had been outgained in yards by a 222-78 count, took its ensuing drive 80 yards in 14 plays.
Palmer's 6-yard screen pass to McFadden capped the 6:33 march, the longest Oakland trek of the year, and cut the margin to 13-7 late in the second.
After McFadden's 36-yard burst to start the third put the ball at the Denver 44, the Broncos defense stood tall and forced a punt four snaps later.
Manning led his troops on a 10-play, 89-yard trek before Matt Prater nailed a 20-yard field goal, which extended the Broncos' edge to 16-7 midway through the frame.
Von Miller strip-sacked Palmer on the third snap of Oakland's next touch and Mitch Unrein pounced on the loose ball at the Oakland 2. Moreno crossed the plane two plays later to make it 23-7.
Prater added a 33-yard field goal late in the frame and Palmer found Darrius Heyward-Bey for a 56-yard score in the fourth to cap the scoring.
Earlier, Manning converted three third downs on Denver's initial drive of the game before concluding the 68-yard march with his 30th TD pass of the year, a 6-yard flip to Joel Dreesen.
Prater booted through a 43-yard field goal on Denver's next trek and added a 34-yarder early in the second, which made it 13-0.
Denver swept the season series against Oakland for the first time since 2006 ... Manning registered his record 12th season with at least 10 victories as a starting quarterback ... The Raiders' six-game skid is their longest since 2007.