Open Thread: TNF Week 13 - Saints @ Falcons

Bucky Brooks, Matt Bowen, Nathan JahnkeBenjamin Hoffman, and Bill Simmons analyze the matchup; here are the inactive lists. Enjoy the game!

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Benoit: Broncos might be NFL’s best

Film Room: Broncos-Buccaneers
www.footballoutsiders.com

It’s hard to pinpoint a single player in the league more valuable than Manning. Not only has he masterfully blended his fine-tuned system with offensive coordinator Mike McCoy’s, he’s also quickly identified and maximized the strengths of every receiver he works with. It’s fun to see on film all the little things Manning does to make the game easy for his teammates. It’s no accident that every Broncos player has adapted so well to the new system and seems to be improving by the week.

Laudable as Denver’s offense has been, it’s the defense that has this team looking like Super Bowl favorites in the AFC. It’s almost fruitless trying to analyze this scheme, as John Fox and Jack Del Rio have sprinkled it with so many different flavors.

Benoit expects Peyton Manning to spend much of Sunday going after young Tampa Bay corners E.J. Biggers and Leonard Johnson, and to find loads of success there.

As for the defense, he sees several players operating at a Pro Bowl level in recent weeks, and he's bewildered that Tony Carter's elite coverage skills weren't discovered earlier.

Are the Raiders getting their act together?

Oakland is expected to waive Rolando McClain today, which prompted the following from Bill Williamson:

McClain never lived up to his billing on the field. He was out of shape, slow and often out of position. He didn’t show the instincts expected from a top-10 pick. He was convicted on a gun charge last year, but it was recently overturned on an appeal, according to his attorney.

The new Oakland regime was charged with salvaging McClain’s time in Oakland. He didn’t make improvements and his playing time dwindled in some games. Now, it is over.

McClain will be the 27th player to leave since new general manager Reggie McKenzie took over. Last week, fellow starting linebacker Aaron Curry was cut.

Some thoughts:

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Miller named DPOM for November

While he's being discussed among Defensive POY candidates, Von Miller, and the Broncos, continue to accumulate in-season accolades.

The dominant second-year player and 2011 DROY, who earned the Defensive POW honor for his Week 11 performance against San Diego, has been named the AFC's Defensive Player of the Month for November, it was announced today.

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2012 Broncos have outscored 2011 Broncos Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Brandon Stokley (hip, wrist) and Manny Ramirez (back) were limited in practice yesterday, while Robert Ayers was the only player absent.

Ayers is back east mourning the unexpected loss of his father, the funeral service for whom will be held on Saturday in Virginia. It would appear unlikely that Ayers would play Sunday against Tampa Bay after having missed the entire week of practice, and rookie Malik Jackson has been prepping to fill in Ayers's spot backing up Elvis Dumervil at RDE.

Tampa Bay is also in relatively good shape, with defensive tackle Roy Miller the only player to miss practice Wednesday, and starting center Ted Larsen a limited participant (both due to illness). Their biggest issue is apparently offensive line depth, and they re-signed guard Derek Hardman to help them there.

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A Super Bowl in Denver?

Denver mayor, Broncos pursue 2018 Super Bowl bid
www.denverpost.com

The Denver Broncos and Visit Denver in late August submitted an application to the National Football League’s Super Bowl Advisory Committee to bid to host the Super Bowl in 2018, 2019 or 2020…

...Already, Minneapolis, New Orleans and Indianapolis have said they are vying for 2018 — which would be announced at the NFL owners meeting in May 2014…

...“The New Jersey game is going to tell a good story on how that works in an outdoor venue,” Scharf said. “We have daily highs that are above Indianapolis and New York. We are 10-degree warmer than Indianapolis and 7 degrees warmer than New York in February. That is also our second driest month of the year. It is not totally out of the question.”

There are a lot of reasons bringing the Super Bowl to Denver is a good move (the rabid fans, the Rocky Mountain skyline, seeing how many out-of-towners get altitude sickness), but one reason stands above all others: we're way better than New Jersey.

STDL: Manning on way to rewriting Broncos record book

It's only been eight months and eight days, but Peyton Manning has already impacted the Broncos franchise more than any quarterback in their history not named John Elway.

The team has quickly moved from lacking a viable NFL quarterback, in the second season of what Elway himself had called a three-year rebuilding process, to being a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

Not that long ago, the Broncos roster was seen as having countless holes, requiring another offseason to shore up its offensive line and defense, and with unknown quantities at the offensive skill positions.

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RIP, Marvin Miller Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! American professional sports lost a great, influential man on Tuesday, with the passing of Marvin Miller at the age of 95.

Miller, the legendary former head of the MLB players union, helped athletes across America find their individual and collective power.

Under his watch, MLB players won free agency, the right to have their grievances arbitrated, more substantial pensions, and the ability to hire their own agents. Eventually, these improvements reached the NFL and other major sports, and we all have reason to be thankful in that regard.

The power of the individual athlete manifested in John Elway forcing his way out of Baltimore and into Denver, and that move is obviously having positive repercussions on the Broncos franchise to this day. Free agency has, of course, brought many important players to Denver, most recently Peyton Manning.

So, thank you, Marvin Miller, and RIP.

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Jay Cutler is a doting father figure Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! With Peyton Manning having been sacked twice and administered a concussion test on Sunday, Jeff Legwold thinks it's suddenly time for Denver to bring out some heavier personnel groupings.

We're not buying it, for even a second.

Obviously, Denver's chances go down the tubes if Peyton gets hurt - but that has been the case since Day 1, and is also true for most NFL teams - especially those with great quarterbacks.

As Ted has been telling us since March, the Manning offense puts 11 personnel (one back, one end, three wideouts) on the field and likes to keep them out there, preferably in a slow no-huddle fashion. It is Manning and Denver's most effective grouping, and a couple of sacks is not a reason to change course there.

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Open Thread: If nobody watches Eagles/Panthers, does the game actually happen?

Andy Benoit, Sam Monson, Doug Farrar, and Benjamin Hoffman preview the matchup; here are the inactives. Enjoy the game, if you're among the five people watching it.

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