Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver has a chance to close out its year with 14 straight wins, and wouldn't that be something?
It would be the longest such streak since the 2003 Patriots won 15.
Mike Klis thinks they could get there by pulling of Revenge Tour 2, with postseason wins over New England, Houston, and Atlanta avenging their three regular season losses. Also in Klis's mailbag is our first indication that the DP has discovered PFF, his opinion that Manning will run away with both MVP and CPOY, and his vision of Knowshon Moreno, Willis McGahee, and Ronnie Hillman splitting carries next year. Sounds pretty good.
Also notable about Denver's nine-game streak is that every win has been by at least a touchdown; it's the longest such streak in the past decade, save the 13-game stretch Peyton led his Colts to in 2005.
Here they come at a furious pace--a wave of Tebow-related articles that all basically say the same thing:
Rex Ryan finally decided to bench Mark Sanchez, but he won't let Tim Tebow start.
Mike Freeman is hearing that the Ultimate Teammate™ feels like he was lied to. Jeff Darlington thinks Tebow will ask out of New York (very un-team) and compares the situation to when Tebow was in high school and decided to switch schools so someone would let him play quarterback instead of linebacker.
Who is the best exec?
Elway found a way to resolve the Tim Tebow problem. Tebow may not be an accurate quarterback, but he is popular. Too popular. Tebowmania wore down a pretty good quarterback in Kyle Orton. When John Fox put Tebow into the starting role, it may have been painful watching the offense, but Tebow won games. I’m sure Tebow fans wondered how anyone would think of replacing him after he won a playoff game over Pittsburgh. Elway didn’t blink.
Elway thinks in terms of Super Bowls, not 8-8 seasons. Getting Manning prevented the Broncos from falling into a future of offense mediocrity and put them in the Super Bowl hunt if he stayed healthy. Even better, Elway was able to get trade value for Tebow, who went to the Jets. Tebow made headlines in New York, but the Jets are out of the playoffs for a second consecutive year.
People also forget Elway solved the Tebow problem in the most gracious of ways: he gave Tebow a choice between the Jets and the Jacksonville Jaguars, despite the fact that the Jaquars offered more in total compensation.
Wait--isn't getting less value a mark against being Exec of the Year?
Did we mention he bagged Peyton Manning?
Just as the last running back to win MVP, LaDainian Tomlinson, did so on the strength of eye-popping numbers — 1,815 rushing yards, 508 receiving yards and an NFL-record 31 touchdowns, 28 on the ground — Peterson’s 2012 campaign is too extraordinary to be ignored.
I’m even willing to apply an old most valuable litmus test: Close your eyes and picture the Vikings without Peterson. Would they be anywhere near a wild-card berth? Would they have beaten the Rams last Sunday? Would Ponder and head coach Leslie Frazier be in danger of losing their jobs?
Now open your eyes and watch Peterson run, on this or any Sunday. He’ll make his case with clarity and ferocity, all day.
Imagine the Vikings without Peterson?
Okay, I just did. At worst they're probably 3-13 like they were last year. At best, they're struggling to make the wild card.
Imagine the Broncos without Manning? At worst they're probably 5-11 or 6-10; further, they're struggling to emerge from a cesspool that includes the Chiefs and Raiders.
At best? You're seeing it right now--they're quite possibly the best team in football.
Happy Tuesday, friends. Assuming the Broncos can take care of business against Cleveland and Kansas City in the next couple weeks, it’s looking like the Patriots will be in line to make a trip to SAF@MH in the divisional round of the playoffs. I thought it might be fun to think through some ideas for defending them, the next time they play the Broncos.
First of all, I’ve been advocating playing straight-up Cover 2 against New England, and hoping to get some stops. After Sunday night’s 49ers-Patriots game, not so much. If anybody could be successful playing zone, the 49ers would have been the team. They did play pretty well in man-to-man, though, and that tells me it can be done. Let’s start this exercise with that thought - that good man-to-man coverage can be effective.
The Patriots are difficult because both their talent and their scheme are outstanding. The parts fit well together, and Tom Brady always has somewhere to go with the ball quickly if he gets blitzed. Let’s say that blitzing very often is a bad idea, based on the evidence.
Peterson, Peyton astound, but don't forget these other comeback tales
It’s good to have friends in high places, and in Denver, nobody resides in the same stratosphere these days as Peyton Manning. At least in part, a relationship with the Broncos new quarterback was how Stokley’s improbable return to the NFL unfolded.
Let us also not forget that Stokes played some role (host, bicyclist partner for game of catch) in making Peyton's initial visit to Denver a familiar, and thus comfortable one. Does Peyton still sign with Denver without Stokley's presence and hospitality? Probably so. But we can't know for certain, and it doesn't matter.
He won't get any votes for Comeback POY, but for having headed to Duke in February and opened his home to buddy Peyton in March, we say, Thank You, Brandon Stokley.
Tough to discern which is the more courageous act - staying on the field for more than seven minutes as large humans run by, or the willingness to be subjected to Raiders/Chiefs for that long.
via Shutdown Corner
Week 15's results eliminated Buffalo, Cleveland, San Diego, and New Jersey from contention, leaving only Pittsburgh (7-7) and Miami (6-8) competing for playoff spots they're currently not in position for.
The AFCN title is still up for grabs between Pittsburgh, Cincinnati (8-6), and Baltimore (9-5), who clinched a playoff spot when the Steelers lost to Dallas on Sunday.
A Bengals win Sunday over the Steelers would put both Cincy and Indy into the playoffs, and the Colts can get themselves in with either a win or tie at Kansas City, where Ricky Stanzi may get the start due to Brady Quinn's injured ribs.
Jets play Tim Tebow for a drive; nobody understands why
The five-play drive included two rushes from Tebow, a sack, and a delay-of-game penalty that set up a third-and-16, which resulted in a scrambling Tebow throwing the ball away.
All of this had Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden scratching his head.
“I’m not sure what they wanted to accomplish there,” Gruden said. “Sanchez moved the team in his first two possessions, and they had good field position. That was a mystery to me. I’m just not quite sure what they want to accomplish with Tim Tebow as a quarterback in this offense. Clearly, they’re confused, I’m confused, and I think a lot of people at home are, as well.”
Rex Ryan finally gave Tim Tebow a series. Yes, a series. Tebow pretty much bombed, but then he watched Sanchez throw four interceptions and botch a fumble in the last minute of the game. So I must simply disagree with Gruden that Sanchez moved anyone anywhere--all season. Why Ryan never made a move to Tebow in the red zone this year when the games mattered is beyond me. Tebow may not be a great quarterback, but the very thing Ryan is known for--grounding and pounding--is the very thing Tebow excels at. Rex Ryan truly baffles the mind (and the feet).
Something tells me had Tebow known Ryan was going to play him just enough to confuse the hell out of everyone, Tebow would have taken the deal to Jacksonville in a second. If I'm Tebow (did I just write that?), I'm doing everything in my power to get my hulking ass down to Jacksonville next year and start anew in a place that has the time and the ticket-sales capacity to give the spread option a serious go.
Something also tells me that the quarterback of the New York Jets is not currently on their roster. Does this sound familiar to anyone?