Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's a tired phrase, as most Chris Berman-isms are, but...this is why they play the games.
After the Patriots (10-4) had reeled off seven straight wins, topping 40 points on four occasions along the way, it appeared they would swat away the visiting 49ers (10-3-1) last night, thus retaining their advantage over Denver (by virtue of their head-to-head tiebreaker) in the race for a first-round bye.
San Francisco's inability to capitalize on early mistakes by New England seemed to be just the sort of thing that would keep the Niners and their young quarterback from knocking off the apparent AFC favorites.
But the ball kept bouncing the way of the Niners - and, indirectly, the Broncos - and San Francisco eventually converted enough Patriots errors into touchdowns, to hang on for dear life in a wild 41-34 stunner that helps put Denver in prime position for the AFC's number-two seed, and a week off to start the playoffs.
Well, well, well. Look what we have here.
It's 10pm here in Denver. The Broncos haven't played a down in almost eight hours, yet they find themselves--if the playoffs were to start today--with a first-round bye.
Win the next two games, Broncos fans, and it's a reality.
Awesomeness happens. And it's not even Christmas yet.
Somewhere, right now, Peyton Manning is smiling. He once said he was going to make his decision to come to Denver the right one.
Thanks to Jim "Jack Frost" Harbaugh going balls out against Bill "Old Man Winter" Belichick, Manning's decision is looking better and better.
I believe it was scholar Michael Gerard Tyson who once said: "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face."
The Ravens had a plan. That plan probably included a healthy dose of Ray Rice.
Then they found themselves bloodied to the tune of 17-0. The plan shifted to the arm of Joe Flacco. And we all know that's no plan at all.
Somehow the Ravens confused this year's Broncos with Denver teams of the past. It began with a push of Eric Decker by Cary Williams and didn't stop until Decker beat Williams like he was Gerry Cooney. The rest of the Ravens were pushed all over the yard and buried.
The Ravens are no longer the physical bullies they believe they are. After most of the plays in the first half, the Ravens were pushing and shoving like it was the year 2000--you know, when Ray Lewis might really murder you.
Last night, Tracy Porter tweeted the following:
Frustrated. The only word I can bite my tongue to say right now.— Tracy Porter (@T_Porter22) December 15, 2012
A Patriots victory would help them keep pace with the Broncos at 11-3; a San Francisco win would leave Denver as the number-two seed in the AFC, and in control of their own destiny, with the Browns and Chiefs coming to SAF@MH to close out the season.
By winning today in Baltimore, Denver has already ensured itself of being no worse than the three seed; if the Niners pull off the upset, the Broncos will be in the driver's seat for a coveted first-round bye. Enjoy the game, and Go Niners!
Good Morning, Broncos fans. As TJ noted last night, several factors are making today's showdown in Baltimore appear to be a lopsided one in Denver's favor.
The more valuable Terrell Suggs (who just married the woman whom he allegedly dragged alongside his car at a high speed recently) will play today, but Ray Lewis - the importance of whose leadership has not deteriorated along with his physical skills - will not play.
Fellow starting inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe is questionable, and if he does not play, the Ravens will have Josh Bynes wear the defensive headset in what would be his first NFL start.
The Broncos need to win tomorrow if they're to keep alive any hopes of gaining a top-two seed and first-round bye in this year's playoffs.
But beyond those loftiest of goals, a Denver victory tomorrow would be significant on its own, as it would ensure the Broncos of being no worse than the AFC's number-three seed in the playoffs. Denver would move to 11-3, drop Baltimore to 9-5, and also own a head-to-head tiebreaker over them, were both teams to finish with 11 wins.
The difference between a three and four seed may not seem that great at first glance, but without knowing how the rest of the AFC will shake out, it certainly could end up being a big deal.
Good Afternoon, friends. We've never been shy about touching upon hotly debated issues here, but have only done so when prompted by words and actions from NFL figures.
Today is different though, because for the past 24 hours, it's been impossible to go more than a few minutes without thinking of the 20 small children who were murdered yesterday. That's murdered, mind you.
Immediately following the horrors in Aurora, and again yesterday, the airwaves and social media have been strewn with claims that it's "too soon" or "not the time" to discuss our nation's status as the mass-murder, assault-death capital of the developed world, and what must be done to fix that.
No day is better or worse to have this conversation, because by the time the self-appointed arbiters of national dialogue deem it's appropriate to broach the topic, we're onto our next mournful episode. Sadly, there's no law of nature that says today won't bring the next tragedy.
Happy Friday, friends. We got a question about the productivity of Elvis Dumervil from a reader the other day, and along with Doc, I am coming off the other edge to help answer it. It’s hard to contain a rush that’s coming off of both sides.
Doc took the position that Elvis has fine numbers, and I agree with him completely. I’m going to come from the schematic angle, and talk about how team strategy is directly feeding into his numbers, and the tactics he’s employing.
If I use the term Wide-9, what does that mean to you? Over the last couple of years, NFL talking heads have decided that it was a scheme that was being employed in Philadelphia. In the true sense of the term, Wide-9 simply means that a defensive player is aligned on the outside shoulder of a second TE, if there were one. He’s very far outside the offensive tackle.