The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

It’s Roger Goodell versus Vlad Putin for Man of the Year

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Green Bay (10-3) held off a furious second half rally to edge Atlanta 43-37 on Monday night.

The Packers jumped out to a 31-7 halftime lead, but it nearly wasn't enough. Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan combined for seven touchdown passes in the shootout.

Jordy Nelson piled up eight receptions for 146 yards and two scores, while Julio Jones had 11 catches for 259 yards and a touchdown in a losing effort.

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On second thought, there was little good for Denver in New England’s win

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Unfortunately, last night's Patriots win wasn't as helpful to Denver's cause as I'd thought.

I'd written a few times yesterday that a New England victory would set Denver up to clinch the AFCW with a win at San Diego next week.

But as noted by an astute reader last night, a Broncos win would give them a season sweep of the Chargers and an AFCW title even if San Diego had won last night.

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How many head coaches can Dan Snyder pay at once?

Good Morning, Broncos fans! With a win today against Buffalo, Denver (9-3) can substantially improve its playoff position, one way or another.

San Diego (8-4) hosts New England (9-3) in the night game, in a matchup that obviously contains major AFC implications. Obviously, we'll all be rooting for the Chargers, as uncomfortable a concept that may be.

Wins by Denver and San Diego would give the Broncos a leg up in the race for the #1 seed and homefield advantage.

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Broncos may promote Brandon McManus for kickoffs

Good Morning, Broncos fans! According to Irv Moss, the Broncos are considering activating Brandon McManus to handle kickoffs as soon as tomorrow against Buffalo.

Prior to Barth's signing, I'd suggested that using two roster spots on kickers would be a waste, as the kickoff specialist would take the place of someone who can tackle, block, catch, carry, and/or run.

But you know what? There are only four games left in the season, and once the playoffs come, the bottom couple roster spots don't figure to matter so much on game days.

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DeMarco Murray is a great player but maybe not such a great teammate

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Led by DeMarco Murray's 228 yards from scrimmage, the Cowboys (9-4) clinched their first winning season with a 41-28 blowout at Chicago (5-8).

The game wasn't nearly as close as the final score would suggest, as Chicago scored 21 fourth quarter points and was within two scores for just a few minutes in the second half.

Murray piled up 41 touches and one score on Thursday, and now has 1,998 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns on the season.

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Broncos should have Aqib Talib back now that they’ll face real wideouts

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It looks like Denver will have Aqib Talib back in the starting lineup on Sunday against Buffalo.

Talib was a full participant in Wednesday's practice after having been held out at Kansas City (possibly as a precaution, since Alex Smith doesn't bother throwing to his wideouts anyway).

Julius Thomas (ankle) was limited, while Jacob Tamme (ribs) and Wes Welker (getting old) were held out. Also not practicing were Kayvon Webster (shoulder) and Quinton Carter (knee).

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Expect Broncos to ease Danny Trevathan back into linebacker rotation

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mike Klis's latest mailbag is an especially good one, with plenty of useful info. The key points:

  • Danny Trevathan is expected back next week at San Diego, but Klis thinks he'll be eased back into the rotation and won't see a full complement of snaps until the playoffs
  • Denver hopes to have Ronnie Hillman back in Week 16 and Montee Ball in Week 17
  • The team continues to negotiate with Chris Harris on a new contract

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Josh McDaniels as a candidate to coach Tim Tebow’s alma mater is just perfect

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Miami (7-5) rebounded from its Week 12 loss at Denver with a 16-13 comeback win over the LOLJets (2-10) on Monday night.

The Dolphins scored 10 fourth-quarter points and sealed the victory with a last-minute interception of Geno Smith, who attempted just 13 passes all game, calling to mind You Know Who.

Miami is one of six AFC teams with seven wins, and the only one currently in position to make the playoffs.

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J.J. Watt has three more touchdown catches than the Chiefs’ WR corps

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Let's open with a few more notes on my new pet peeve: Connor Barth's woefully short kickoffs!

First, though, I should make clear that there is (of course) value in Barth being a more reliable placekicker than Brandon McManus has shown to this point.

In addition to points on the scoreboard, as Demaryius Thomas and Manny Ramirez showed last week, missed field goals can lead to plenty of frustrated teammates.

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Saints may flip Roger Goodell the double bird by signing Ray Rice

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It's been suggested since his reinstatement that Ray Rice is too toxic to be signed anytime soon.

But as always, talent and need trump all other issues in the NFL, and according to Adam Schefter, at least four teams have expressed interest in Rice.

Indy had been floated as Rice's likeliest destination, but the Colts have apparently backed off any possible pursuit of the former Raven.

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