Open Thread: Sunday Week 13

Denver's inactives today are WR Brandon Stokley, FB Jacob Hester, DE Robert Ayers, QB Caleb Hanie, G/C C.J Davis, CB Tracy Porter, and TE Julius Thomas.

The absences of Ayers and Hester are no surprise, while not having Stokley, who's been bothered by hip and wrist issues all week, means Andre Caldwell will dress.

Tampa Bay will be without RB Michael Smith, LB Najee Goode, G/T Derek Hardman, WR David Gilreath, WR David Douglas, and DT Matthew Masifilo.

Here are rest of the day's inactive lists. Enjoy the games, and Go Broncos and Steelers!

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KC horrors prompt endless questions Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans. The Chiefs and Panthers will play their game today as scheduled, some 28 hours after their starting middle linebacker unfathomably killed the mother of his three-month-old daughter, before taking his own life at Chiefs headquarters.

It doesn't feel like continuing with the game today is the right thing to do, yet the league left it up to the Chiefs, whose head coach (who witnessed Jovan Belcher's suicide) and captains voted unanimously to play.

Could they really be equipped to make such a decision? That's doubtful, considering what they are dealing with. Kansas City - the team, and the fans - will go through the habitual motions of a football Sunday, but will anyone really be thinking about football? It's hard to believe they will. Then again, would playing the game tomorrow instead of today make any positive difference? Not necessarily.

Belcher's high school coach and agent wonder what went wrong for a young man they describe as intelligent, hard-working, generous, and caring - a person most of us knew little or nothing about prior to yesterday.

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STDL: Broncos gone streaking

The Broncos may have struggled to beat the Chiefs last week, but the victory still extended Denver's winning streak to six games - the NFL's longest current one.

Another win tomorrow, over the visiting Bucs, would make for only the fourth win streak of seven or more games in Broncos history. It would also make Denver AFCW champs in consecutive seasons for just the third time ever.

With the Broncos' rivals embroiled in streaks of the losing variety - KC's dropped eight, Oakland four, and San Diego three - the division title is a foregone conclusion. And once that formality is wrapped up with the next Denver win or San Diego loss, the team will be assured to open the playoffs at home.

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Tragedy at Arrowhead Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans. There's some horrifying news coming out of Kansas City today.

Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher reportedly killed his girlfriend at a residence this morning, before going to Arrowhead, where he committed suicide in the parking lot, apparently in the presence of Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel and GM Scott Pioli.

Belcher was a fourth-year linebacker who joined Kansas City after going undrafted out of Maine in 2009; he was born and raised on Long Island, in New York.

Our thoughts go out to the families involved, and the Chiefs organization, players, and fans.

The team is scheduled to host the Panthers tomorrow, and the league has not yet decided whether to go ahead with the game.

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Alex Marvez is what’s wrong with the Hall of Fame

Did you get a load of this, from Doug's most favoritest football writer Alex Marvez?

This is a guy who used to be a voter for the Hall of Fame, as president of the Professional Football Writers Association, but doesn't presently hold one of the 44 seats.  Other reporters, such as his FoxSports.com colleagues John Czarnecki and Nancy Gay, do get to vote.  Remember my Rule Number 1 of sports: anything which is decided by reporters voting is diminished by that fact, and I'd go so far as to say it's inherently worthless.

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Atwater, Davis, Lynch, Mecklenburg among HOF semifinalists

Former Broncos Steve Atwater, Terrell Davis, John Lynch, and Karl Mecklenburg are among 27 semifinalists who will be considered for enshrinement in the 2013 HOF class, it was announced Friday.

The list of 27 former players, coaches, and executives will be pared to 15 finalists (plus the two Senior Committee candidates) in January, and the Class of 2013 will be chosen on Saturday, February 2, the day preceding SB 46 in New Orleans.

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Fat Camp: The multiplicity of the Broncos defense

Happy Friday, friends.  I was going to write an article today breaking down the Broncos-Bucs game, but Andy Benoit did a really good job of it yesterday for Football Outsiders, and I don’t really feel like it’s necessary to go over the same ground he just plowed.

Instead, I want to write about a topic I’ve been meaning to get to for a few weeks, which is the unusual multiplicity of the Broncos defense this year.  Two passages from the aforementioned Benoit article get to this topic.  Here is the first one that jumped out at me:

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. 

The Broncos are really doing a bunch of stuff on defense this year.  They’re switching their fronts, and subtly adjusting their alignments, and mixing up their coverages, and varying their blitzes.  It’s to the point that offenses can’t really get a good read on what the Broncos are doing defensively, because they’re doing a bit of everything.

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Broncos win would clinch AFCW and NFCS Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Adderall has become a hot topic in the NFL this season.

A slew of players have been suspended this season for apparent abuse of the ADHD med, including Broncos tight end Virgil Green. Most players have challenged their bans, with varying levels of success. Excuses for positive tests by players have ranged from needing to stay awake during long drives, to incorrectly filed paperwork with the league, to urine sample switcheroos.

Outside theories on the rise in positive tests have included players needing a boost to trudge through their lengthy playbooks, or seeking an awareness edge during games, or covering for a more sinister substance (ie steroids) by citing the more societally acceptable Adderall.

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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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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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