The Lard

A comprehensive daily examination of NFL happenings and analysis

Montee Ball the latest Bronco to slim down

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! Montee Ball has made a limited return to practice this week, but it's unclear whether he'll play Sunday.

Ball is down to 210 pounds from a pre-appendectomy weight of 224 and pre-groin injury weight of 220, and much like Von Miller, says he's loving his leaner build.

But even with Ronnie Hillman's struggles at New England, Montee is under no illusion that the starting gig will be handed back to him.

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Broncos still #1, if barely

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! As one might have suspected, the Broncos' statistical ratings have taken something of a hit after their latest Foxboro debacle.

They're still ranked #1 overall according to Advanced Football AnalyticsFootball Outsiders, and PFR, but their lead in each site's metric has slimmed considerably.

Again, we can take comfort in that SRS says Denver has faced the toughest schedule to date, and the slate should ease up substantially.

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The AFC is clearly this year’s power conference

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Indy (6-3) joined Denver and Pittsburgh in the AFC's six-win club with a 40-24 disembowelment of the Giants (3-5).

Andrew Luck threw four touchdown passes to give the Colts a 40-10 lead before the G-Men tacked on a pair of late scores.

Indy has a healthy two-game lead in the AFCS and are off next week before they host New England (who's also on bye) in an enormous Week 11 matchup.

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Broncos’ schedule gets easier from here

Good Morning, Broncos fans! If anything should provide solace after yesterday's blowout, it's the Broncos' and Patriots' remaining schedules.

New England would appear to have a much tougher slate, with road games at Indy, Green Bay, San Diego, and the Jets.

They'll host Detroit, Miami, and Buffalo. Those are probably all wins, but necessarily easy matchups.

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Snowy and windy backdrop for Manning/Brady 16

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! As much as the weather has been discussed this week, it appears not to have been overkill.

It's been snowing today (if less than is being portrayed on ESPN), and that's expected to continue into the afternoon. It remains to be seen how much of that snow will be cleared by kickoff.

The forecast calls for plenty of wind, and that's a legitimate concern for Denver, considering Peyton Manning's oft wobbly throws.

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Manning versus Brady, ad infinitum

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Sunday's forecast continues to include cold and windy conditions at Foxboro, even if Bill Belichick says to ignore such predictions.

But if the meteorologists are correct, then we should expect some run-heavy game plans, and then Denver's few injuries may come into play.

Ronnie Hillman (shoulder) and Louis Vasquez (illness) were upgraded to full participants on Friday and are listed as probable, while Montee Ball was again ruled out.

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Ray McDonald not expected to face domestic violence charges

Good Morning, Broncos fans! New Orleans (4-4) took over first place in the NFCS with a 28-10 whipping of Carolina (3-5-1).

Drew Brees threw one touchdown and rushed for another, while Mark Ingram ran for another two, in leading the Saints to their first road win of the year.

Carolina has now won just one of its last seven games, including a tie against Cincy.

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Eric & Jessie, you’re not in Colorado anymore

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! A shoulder injury to Ronnie Hillman gave Denver a bit of a scare yesterday.

However, Hillman did practice in limited fashion on Wednesday and is/was practicing again today.

Louis Vasquez was held out on Wednesday due to illness, but was also back to work today.

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Broncos remain an emphatic #1 across the rankings board

Good Morning, Broncos fans! After they pummeled the rival Chargers in Week 8, Denver remains atop all of the rankings we've been tracking this year.

For the second straight week, the Broncos have the #1 offense and #1 defense per AFA's efficiency rankings.

Their Gross Winning Percentage (explained here last week) inched up to an otherworldly 0.70.

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Celebrating Champ Bailey’s greatness

Champ Bailey was never much for yapping about his own greatness. But showboating and self-promotion aren't prerequisites to become one of the all-time greats, which Champ surely was.

Bailey didn't have the irritating ego of peers like Brett Favre, Deion Sanders, or Terrell Owens, so he wasn't talked about quite as often.

But he'll end up in Canton just the same, and probably as soon as he's eligible.

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