The people who put their money where their mouths are have spoken: going into Wild Card Weekend, the Denver Broncos are the favorites to win Super Bowl 47.
It might be easy to dismiss betting lines as something conjured up by Vegas (or whomever), but to guarantee a win for a game, the sportsbooks need to get a 50/50 split in bets, letting the house take in the even split plus the vig. That means the odds shift as people bet, accurately reflecting popular (gambler) opinion. When it comes to the Super Bowl, the pool of gamblers is large and easily reflects popular opinion.
Futures don't shift exactly the same way (there's no 50/50), but they do shift as bets are placed and news (namely wins and injuries) happen.
The Browns are expected to hire Oregon's Chip Kelly as their new head coach; he'll be replacing Pat Shurmur, who may be joining Andy Reid's new staff in Kansas City.
Kelly's Ducks defeated Kansas State Thursday night 35-17 in the Fiesta Bowl.
The 49-year-old had also been a candidate for the Buffalo and Philadelphia jobs, both of which Denver's Mike McCoy will interviewing for this weekend. McCoy is scheduled to meet with the Cards and Bills tomorrow, and the Eagles and Bears on Sunday.
A day after winning the AFC Offensive POW award for his play in the Week 17 finale against Kansas City, Peyton Manning has been named the conference's top offensive player for the month of December.
Manning received the same honor for his play in October, and he has now won the award six times during his career.
For the second time this season, Peyton Manning has been named the AFC's Offensive POW, for his 304-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Chiefs Sunday. Manning also received the honor after leading the Broncos to their 35-24 comeback win at San Diego, and he was named the AFC's best offensive player for the month of October.
For Peyton, it's the 23rd weekly award of his career, tying him with Tom Brady for the most ever. As a team, the Broncos racked up eight such honors, and Von Miller also took home the AFC's defensive player award for November.
Just as we've finished sorting through the Twitter slapfight between Jason La Canfora and Mike Florio over who reports the least tainted information, here comes a stunning development in the courtship of Andy Reid, one which might suggest that these agents know precisely what they're doing:
Plot thickens: Before arriving in Arizona tonight, Andy Reid will interview today in Philadelphia with the KC Chiefs, via @mortreport.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 2, 2013
We'll likely never know if the Chiefs have jumped into the Reid sweeps because they heard the Cards were "95%" likely to hire the former Eagles coach, but it's safe to say that Bob LaMonte is playing the game well.
As expected, the list of teams interested in Broncos OC Mike McCoy is growing. McCoy will already be interviewing with the Bears and Cardinals this weekend, and the Bills have thrown their hat into the ring by requesting permission from the Broncos to meet with him.
John Elway & Co. have already established that any suitors must come to the Denver area to interview McCoy, so presumably they'll be playing by that same rule. It's hard to imagine the Broncos not granting Buffalo's request.
The day following the conclusion of the NFL season has come to be known as Black Monday, as that's when axes traditionally fall on coaches and GMs who have failed to live up to expectations.
Most of the moves have been long been expected, while others may come as surprises. Job interviews likely began informally or clandestinely days or weeks ago, but this week they will start in earnest, and even quite publicly if other teams follow the model set by Denver two years ago.
Updated 8:34pm ET
Andrew Luck threw two touchdown passes, the Colts defense picked off Matt Schaub twice, and Indy (11-5) took down the visiting Texans (12-4) by a 28-16 margin, providing the Broncos with a chance to claim homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win or tie today against the Chiefs.
As recently as four weeks ago, Houston, at 11-1, had what was essentially a 2.5-game lead on the 9-3 Broncos in the AFC standings, given their Week 3 win in Denver. But they've lost three of four down the stretch - at New England in Week 14, in Houston last week against the Vikings, and today at Indy.
Peyton Manning, Von Miller, and Champ Bailey were named Pro Bowl starters today; Ryan Clady and Elvis Dumervil are on the AFC team, but are not starters.
Demaryius Thomas, Chris Kuper, Zane Beadles, Eric Decker, David Bruton, and Britton Colquitt are alternates should players ahead of them on the roster not play due to either injury or their teams being in the Super Bowl.
Following a season during which he faced the unenviable task of blocking for a player who used the entire 160-foot width of the field as his pocket, Ryan Clady received the ultimate gift in the form of Peyton Manning last March.
By choosing not to accept the reported $28M in guarantees offered him by Denver over the summer, he set himself up for an even bigger prize.
At the least, Clady figures to receive the Broncos' franchise tag, which will provide him with $9.66M in guaranteed salary, which is more than a $6M bump up from his 2012 salary of $3.5M.