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Patriots clinch bye; Chargers control destiny

New England clinched a first-round bye and moved a step closer to the AFC's #1 seed with a narrow 17-16 win over the Jets on Sunday. New Jersey almost pulled off the upset, but for Vince Wilfork's partial block of a late 52-yard FG attempt by Nick Folk.

The Pats would gain homefield advantage tonight with a Broncos loss, or next Sunday, with a win over Buffalo or Denver loss to Oakland. A Cincy win tonight would clinch a playoff berth for them, and if they also beat Pittsburgh next week (in a game flexed to SNF), they'll claim the AFCN.

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2015 coaching carousel features several names quite familiar to Broncos fans

As the regular season winds down, a few names quite familiar to Broncos Land are providing Jim Harbaugh with some company on the 2015 coaching carousel. According to Jason La Canfora, owner Arthur Blank has decided to fire Mike Smith unless the Falcons make an unlikely and deep playoff run.

Current Broncos OC Adam Gase and former head coach Josh McDaniels are said to be high on Atlanta's list, along with Stanford's David Shaw. McDaniels and Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff worked together for six years in New England, and Gase was first brought to Denver by McDaniels in 2009.

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Broncos re-sign Dominique Jones, tried to claim Player A from Wells Report

Two days after they waived him, the Broncos re-signed tight end Dominique Jones to their 53-man roster. This might suggest the health of Jacob Tamme (rib) isn't improving as quickly as expected.

Instead of putting Jones back on the practice squad, as they'd been expected to do, they signed tackle DeMarcus Love, who's had four NFL stints since entering the league as a 2011 sixth-rounder.

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Bears bench Jay Cutler, possibly to facilitate trading him

The Bears' dumpster fire has grown to a multi-alarm blaze. According to ESPN, Cutler will be benched for Sunday's home game against Detroit, in favor of the terrible, no good quarterback Jimmy Clausen.

Last week, Ian Rapoport cited anonymous sources in reporting that Bears officials regretted giving Cutler his massive contract ($38M guaranteed!). Shortly thereafter, OC Aaron Kromer tearfully apologized to the team for being one of Rapoport's sources.

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49ers cut Ray McDonald amid rape investigation

San Francisco cut defensive end Ray McDonald after police said they are investigating him for an alleged sexual assault. San Jose Police detectives searched McDonald's home on Wednesday.

The Niners were criticized earlier in the season for sticking by McDonald amid allegations that he'd physically abused his pregnant fiancee. Prosecutors opted not to press charges in the case, one made more controversial by the involvement of an off duty San Jose policeman at McDonald's house.

Broncos promote safety Josh Bush, add former Pats draftee to practice squad

Denver filled one of its two roster openings by promoting safety Josh Bush from the practice squad. The Broncos first added the former Jet and Wake Forest alum a month ago. Guard Jon Halapio was signed to the practice squad in Bush's place. The Florida alum was a 2014 sixth-round choice of New England's.

According to Mike Klis, Shaq Barrett is likely to be called up to fill the remaining vacancy; Denver opened two spots on Tuesday by placing Danny Trevathan on IR and waiving TE Dominique Jones.

PFF’s 2014 Pro Bowl team includes five Broncos, but not Peyton Manning

Five Broncos made PFF's Pro Bowl team for 2014: Demaryius Thomas, Von Miller, Brandon Marshall, and Chris Harris are among the first-teamers, while Emmanuel Sanders is recognized as a reserve.

The glaring omission here, of course, is Peyton Manning, who inexplicably was beaten out by Matt Ryan, among others. No, Peyton's not playing at the level he did in 2013, but his 8.08 ANY/A ranks second only to that of Aaron Rodgers (8.55), and is far higher than his career prior to 2014 (7.24).

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Aqib Talib named AFC Defensive POW

Aqib Talib was named the AFC's defensive player of the week for his performance during Denver's AFCW-clinching win at San Diego. The veteran corner notched an interception, eight tackles (seven solo), and three passes defensed to take home his second career weekly honor (2010 with Tampa Bay against Arizona).

Talib graded out at +3.3, matching his highest mark of the season (also against San Diego). As for Broncos defensive players receiving honors this year, Von Miller was named the AFC's defensive POM for October.

Chargers will call San Diego home for at least one more year

The Chargers will not exercise the $17.6M termination clause in their Qualcomm Stadium lease, instead remaining in San Diego for a 55th season. Mayor Kevin Faulconer says the city of San Diego will unveil a stadium proposal sometime in January.

It had been speculated that as many as two teams out of the Chargers, Raiders, and Rams might again call Los Angeles home in 2015.

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Broncos place Danny Trevathan on IR, waive Dominique Jones

The Broncos opened two roster spots on Tuesday by placing linebacker Danny Trevathan on IR and waiving tight end Dominique Jones. Trevathan will undergo surgery to repair a patellar dislocation, the third injury in or around his left knee this season.

According to Troy Renck, Denver would like to bring Jones back to the practice squad. He was activated last week and dressed in place of Jacob Tamme, who is expected back this week.

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