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!
* Although a Houston win would immediately place Denver ahead of New England in the race for playoff seeding, and their destiny in their own hands, a Pats victory wouldn't be the end of the world, either. Indy is still very much alive for the AFCS title, although if the Colts were to win their division and end up with 12 wins along with Denver, it appears (by consulting ESPN's Playoff Machine) Indy would tiebreakers over the Broncos and thus gain a higher seeding.
Here are the day's inactive lists. Enjoy the games - Washington knocked off Baltimore in overtime, handing the Ravens their fourth loss of the season, and putting them a full game behind Denver in the AFC playoff race. Thank you, Shanny!
Denver's inactives are RG Chris Kuper, LB Wesley Woodyard, CB Tracy Porter, TE Julius Thomas, FB Jacob Hester, DT Sealver Siliga, and QB Caleb Hanie. Manny Ramirez and D.J. Williams figure to start in place of Kuper and Woodyard, respectively, with C.J. Davis as Ramirez's backup.
Brandon Stokley, who had been a game-time decision, will dress - as will Andre Caldwell and Matthew Willis - so Denver will have five wideouts suited up, even while the punditry suggested the Broncos would focus on a run-heavy approach tonight. Tracy Porter, who did not appear on the week's injury report, is a healthy scratch.
Not dressing for Oakland are DE Jack Crawford, DT Richard Seymour, RB Jeremy Stewart, WR Derek Hagan, T Willie Smith, OL Lucas Nix, and RB/FB Jamize Olawale.
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!