The Daily Lard 12-25-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The AFC West is set up for a wild finish next Sunday afternoon, as the Broncos host the Chiefs and the Raiders face the Chargers in Oakland. Denver's only path to the playoffs is via the division title, but they have three ways of claiming it: 1) beat KC; 2) tie KC, plus Oakland ties or loses to SD; 3) lose to KC, plus Oakland loses to SD. As for the AFC's final wild card spot, Oakland can nab it with a victory and some help, but Denver has no shot at it due to victories yesterday by Cincinnati (23-16 over the Cards) and Tennessee (23-17 over Jacksonville).

How did we get to this point? Well, the Broncos came up pretty small yesterday, especially the offense and special teams, which combined to allow 21 points to the defense's 19 in a 40-14 loss to Buffalo. The 21 came via a punt return TD by Leodis McKelvin and two fourth quarter pick-sixes by Tim Tebow, although one of those could be changed to a fumble. As for the defense, they struggled to keep the Bills outside the 20 but stiffened up once allowing them in (Buffalo was 1-6 in the red zone).

The Broncos lost the turnover battle (0-4) for the third straight week and have given the ball up nine times over that stretch (seven of them by Tebow). They also lost Chris Harris to a pinched nerve, Quinton Carter to a severe bruise on his lower back, and Brian Dawkins to a reaggravation of his neck injury which is feared could end his playing career.

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Gut Reaction: Week 16 - Broncos at Bills

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the team;

Not an offense (or defense or special teams) was stirring, not even a dream.

John Foxball requires good field position and a positive turnover ratio,

Neither of those things happened today.

It doesn't matter who is your quarterback; it doesn't matter how much you believe; it certainly doesn't how many times you kneel and pray.

Football is football--even the night before Christmas.

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Open Thread - Saturday Week 16

Enjoy the games, everyone! Go Broncos and Chiefs! Inactive for the Broncos today are WR/PR Quan Cosby, S Kyle McCarthy, LB Mike Mohamed, G Manny Ramirez, T Tony Hills, TE Julius Thomas, and DE Derrick Harvey. Buffalo will be without WR Naaman Roosevelt, RB Johnny White, DB Josh Nesbitt, T Sam Young, DL Jarron Gilbert, WR Ruvell Martin, and TE Fendi Onobun.

Remember, our new commenting system allows for real-time updating now - so you no longer have to refresh the page to read new comments or wait for your own to appear. If you haven't registered under the new system, please check out David's primer.

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STDL: Week 16 - Broncos at Bills

Let's take a quick pre-game look at how the Broncos and Bills match up:

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STDL: QB stats through 15 weeks

Let's see how Tim Tebow's offensive numbers look after nine starts as the Broncos starting QB. Prior to the New England game, Tebow was 20th in the league in Adjusted Net Yards per Touch and 33rd in Net Yards per Touch, out of the 40 passers who had attempted 100 or more passes. While there are now 43 QBs who've thrown over 100 passes, we'll constrain the list to the top 40 players in terms of attempts:

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The Daily Lard 12-24-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Pretty exciting day today, as Denver has a chance to clinch the AFC West today with a victory over the Bills combined with a loss or tie by the Raiders in Kansas City. It would mark the team's first division title since the 2005 season. The Broncos can also clinch at least a wild card with a win in Buffalo combined with losses by the Jets (Giants), Bengals (Cardinals) and Titans (Jaguars), all of whom are playing at home today and kicking off early.

The Raiders will be without several key players who did not practice all week - RB Darren McFadden, S Michael Huff, WR Jacoby Ford and DT John Henderson.

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Fat Pickins (and probability) - Week 16

The numbers say the Broncos have a 48.04% of winning tomorrow against the Bills.

In other words--it seems I say this every week--it's almost a coin flip.

Enjoy the games, everyone!

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Digesting the Bills

Happy Friday, friends.  Today, we digest the formerly ascendant Buffalo Bills, who have lately been pretty descendant.  In fact, they’ve lost seven in a row and are 5-9.  They've won two blowouts, lost four, and are 3-4 in close games.  It’s been a weird season. 

Really, the 5-2 start was the case of a team with below-average talent and no depth overachieving on the strength of excellent coaching and good early health.  The good health significantly disappeared, some marginal players had to play, defenses started playing to take away the short passing game, and the overachievement ended.  After the jump, we’ll explore the Bills in detail.

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The Daily Lard 12-23-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Last night's game had a rather interesting ending with plenty of implications, as Colts QB Dan Orlovsky led a 12-play, 78-yard drive to defeat the Texans 19-16. For Houston, the loss is a severe blow to their chances at nabbing a playoff bye and one of the top seeds; instead they're likely to end up with the #3 seed. Should the Broncos take the AFC West and the #4 seed, they would host the #5 seed in the first round, which will be either PIttsburgh or Baltimore, and unless Houston is knocked out by the #6 seed, Denver would have to go to Foxborough if they can pull off a first-round upset.

On the other end of things, the victory for the Colts is their second straight, and it means their stranglehold on the first-overall pick and chance to draft Andrew Luck is gone - Indy is now tied in the win column with the Rams and Vikings, and the Colts face their division rival Jaguars to close out their season. Due to strength of schedule, it appears the Colts would still get the #1 pick if they finish tied for the worst record with the Rams and/or Vikings. So the Colts/Jags matchup could be the determinant of whether Jacksonville has to face Andrew Luck twice annually for potentially the next 10 or 15 years. I'm not sure the Jags really want to win that game...

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Open Thread - Thursday Week 16

Enjoy the game, everyone! Mike Tanier and Matt Bowen break down the matchup.

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