Peyton Manning's record-tying 14th Pro Bowl selection came on the heels of his worst performance in his three seasons with Denver that cost the Broncos a shot at home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
There's still little concern for coach John Fox, whose club can earn a first-round bye with a seventh straight victory over the visiting Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
Manning threw four interceptions - the last returned for a touchdown with less than three minutes remaining - in Monday's 37-28 loss at Cincinnati that ended a four-game winning streak for the Broncos (11-4).
Manning is 38 and looking to become the oldest quarterback in history to win a Super Bowl, a record held by his boss, John Elway. But despite leading the league with 39 touchdown passes, he has just five over his last four games while tossing six picks.
''The sky's not falling. We're not getting ready to get rid of our quarterback. He's fine and, we're all going to get better,'' Fox said.
"The reality is we're going to get an opportunity to compete for the Lombardi Trophy. We're in the playoffs.''
Denver can guarantee bypassing the wild-card round with a win over the Raiders (3-12), providing an extra week of rest for a squad that has nine Pro Bowlers - its most since having a team-record 10 in 1998 when Elway led the Broncos to their last Super Bowl title.
Denver also would clinch the No. 2 seed with a Bengals loss to Pittsburgh no matter the outcome of this contest.
"We won the No. 1 seed two years in a row and we still didn't win (the Super Bowl)," said cornerback Chris Harris Jr., who became the first undrafted cornerback to make the Pro Bowl since Dallas' Everson Walls in 1981. "It doesn't matter how you get to that point, you've just got to win in those big games. Either way it goes, you're still in the tournament and you've still got a chance."
Denver has taken six straight meetings with the Raiders and Manning has won his last eight starts against them dating to 2004 with Indianapolis. He threw for 340 yards, five touchdowns - two each to Pro Bowler Julius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders - and two interceptions in a 41-17 win at Oakland on Nov. 9.
C.J. Anderson took over in the backfield for the injured Ronnie Hillman in that contest and finished with 163 total yards and a receiving touchdown. He's second to Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell in scrimmage yards per game over the last seven weeks with 135.7.
Anderson rushed for 90 yards on 13 carries against Oakland, which allowed just 13 yards on the same amount of rushing attempts in last week's 26-24 home win over Buffalo that knocked the Bills out of playoff contention.
Derek Carr threw for 214 yards and two touchdowns, giving him six with no interceptions over his last three. He leads all rookies in completions (330), passing yards (3,112) and touchdowns (20), and his 11 interceptions are the fewest of any rookie quarterback with at least 500 attempts in NFL history.
''(He has) poise and leadership ability,'' offensive tackle Donald Penn said. ''He does it just being himself. It comes natural to him.''
Carr finished with 192 yards, two touchdowns and two picks in the first meeting with Denver.
Carr has only a 69.8 passer rating on the road, where the Raiders have gone 0-7. That doesn't include a 38-14 loss to Miami on Sept. 28 in London that counted as a home game on Oakland's schedule.
The Raiders have lost 10 straight true road games since beating Houston on Nov. 17, 2013.
''We've got to learn how to take what we do (at home) and go on the road and do it,'' Carr said. ''We have to take that, the way we can play here against some really good football teams, and do that on the road.
''We need to learn how to do that and it's something that we are learning to do. But it just hasn't happened yet. Eventually we'll get it right.''
Carr was feeling ill at practice Tuesday and was sent home by interim coach Tony Sparano, who thinks Carr will be fine by Sunday.
''(Winning on the road is) really the next step,'' Sparano said. ''We have to be able to turn the tide when we're in those situations."
He believes the Raiders have made major strides in going 3-2 since the winless start.
"It is what it is at this point, but we're just out there just fighting for each other and this team and this organization," rookie linebacker Khalil Mack said. "It speaks to the veteran leaders in this locker room, as well as the young guys."