Accorsi still haunted by ghost of Elway past

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver has another big opportunity ahead of it today in Houston.

As they're currently in line for the #1 overall seed in the AFC, a win over the Texans would at least keep them ahead of the Patriots and Chiefs in the conference standings.

If a Broncos victory is joined by a Kansas City loss to the visiting Colts, then Denver will claim its third straight AFCW title, which would be a franchise first.

Adding in a Patriots loss or tie at Baltimore would clinch home field advantage for Denver, allowing them to rest key players for the season finale at Oakland next week.

For Houston, a loss today combined with a Washington victory over Dallas would clinch the #1 overall pick in the 2014 Draft.

Broncos News

Peyton Manning enters the game just three touchdown passes shy of Tom Brady's single-season record.

Shaun Phillips has earned an extra $800K this season thanks to his 10 sacks; two more would give him another $400K, while getting to 14 sacks would mean another $800K, for $2M in total bonuses.

Newest Bronco Jeremy Mincey turned 30 last week and owns a recording studio in Jacksonville.

Broncos Analysis

Joan Niesen discusses the many injuries that have battered Denver's defense, which Woody Paige thinks needs more leadership.

Andrew Mason offers his three keys for a Broncos win and says J.J. Watt gives Houston their best chance to win today.

Benjamin Hochman expects we'll see plenty of Jacob Tamme in the slot today.

Paul Klee suspects the shoulder injury suffered by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie at New England is still troubling him.

Len Pasquarelli thinks the structure of Champ Bailey's contract suggests the Bronco still view him as a corner, but the deal was signed three years ago, and has only one year left, not the two that Pasquarelli says it does.

News

A woman whose daughter was killed by a driver who'd gotten drunk at a 2010 Colts game is suing the stadium's concession operators.

Minnesota put TE John Carlson on IR; Cleveland placed WR Davone Bess on their reserve/NFI list.

Baltimore kicker Justin Turner thinks he can hit a 70-yarder during a game, and says he made a 79-yarder during warmups for the season opener in Denver.

Indy owner Jim Irsay bought each of his players an Xbox One for Christmas.

Coaching Carousel

Jason Garrett's coaching staff fears they could be fired if the Cowboys miss the playoffs, and it's said that Garrett and Tony Romo aren't getting along that well.

Jason La Canfora reports that Jon Gruden would be interested in a return to Oakland, and that owner Mark Davis tried hard to hire him a year ago. According to Adam Schefter, Davis turned down Dennis Allen's request that his assistants have their contracts extended.

Additionally, La Canfora says Baylor coach Art Briles could end up replacing Shanny in Washington, with someone like Gregg Williams or Mike Nolan as his DC.

Gary Myers predicts the Jets will let Rex Ryan walk after this year, but that Tom Coughlin will be back with the Giants.

Bill O'Brien reportedly had his buyout figure with Penn State lowered.

GM Talk

Niners GM Trent Baalke says claims that he and Jim Harbaugh have a tense relationship are far overblown.

Chicago GM Phil Emery, clarifying his own comments from earlier in the month, says the Bears are open to using their franchise tag on Jay Cutler.

Ernie Accorsi, who had the misfortune of having to trade John Elway in Baltimore and then be tortured by Elway's Broncos in Cleveland, says he's still tormented by highlights of The Drive and The Fumble.

Analysis

Pat KirwanJason La Canfora, and Jarrett Bell preview the day's games.

La Canfora could see the Patriots letting the oft-injured Rob Gronkowski go as soon as a year from now.

Doug Farrar recaps the biggest NFL stories of 2013.

Chase Stuart thinks Carolina's W-L turnaround is more about randomness than it is about them actually being a better team.

According to Mike Klis, Ray Lewis was a dominant middle linebacker for the Ravens last season. Oh my.

The always excellent Matt Waldman provides thoughtful perspective on the narrative surrounding Gamecocks DE Jadeveon Clowney.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

The Lard