Broncos gain heaps of midseason props, FWIW Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! So much of the talk this season has been about Cam Newton's struggles.

But as several numbers-centric writers have noted recently, Cam's not been performing measurably worse in a lot of categories. Yes, he's passing and rushing for touchdowns at a lower rate this year, but that happens. His Y/A and NY/A numbers are actually better than they were in 2011, while his AY/A and ANY/A trail last year's figures by a tiny margin.

He even has a higher YPA on the ground than last year, albeit with fewer touchdowns and a lot more fumbles.

Point is, Cam Newton has not suddenly been figured out, nor turned into a crappy QB. He's still a serious threat, and five of his team's six losses have been by six points or less.

This is where Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil will come into play - they'll need to balance getting Cam to the ground in the pocket (his sack rate is slightly higher in 2012) with not letting him bust long runs. Of course, much of the Denver defense is familiar with the read option from having practiced against it for much of last season, and Miller has turned into an elite, disciplined run defender.

At the back end, Denver's young corners Chris Harris and Tony Carter will have to keep up their splendid play, and is there any reason to think they won't?

Broncos

Andrew Mason doles out some midseason awards and predicts an 11-5 finish for the Broncos.

With Peyton Manning now officially owning the (incorrect) record for fourth-quarter comebacks, Dumervil says the Broncos never feel out of a game, and John Elway says that mindset can take over a team.

Neil Hornsby credits the play of Manning, Eric Decker, and Orlando Franklin for helping Denver beat Cincy, and says Derek Wolfe continues to be ineffective, no matter whether he's classified as an end or tackle.

Jeff Legwold says DT Sealver Siliga likely won't suit up this year unless there's an injury to the tackles ahead of him.

In his latest mailbag, Mike Klis predicts that Jack Del Rio will still be with Denver next season, says Eric Decker has been on fire since his slide against Houston, although that ignores his part in Manning's first interception Sunday.

No matter how Chase Stuart examines the numbers, he finds that Peyton has been the league's best QB at converting on third and fourth down.

Scott Kacsmar notes that Denver and Houston are the only teams to have scored at least 21 points in every game so far, and he predicts the Broncos will be the AFC's #2 seed.

The Travel Channel is teaming with NFL Films to chronicle part of Cleveland's season, including their preparation for their Week 16 game against Denver.

Congratulations to Shannon Sharpe, who has been elected to the Black College HOF; Chris Hall points out the contributions from deep down Denver's roster for BTV.

Panthers

Carolina activated WR David Gettis from the PUP list and placed KR Kealoha Pilares on IR; they also cut practice-squad LB Jerry Franklin, who had been with Denver in the summer.

The Panthers defensive line has been getting a ton of sacks lately, which bodes poorly for the Broncos and Manny Ramirez.

Joseph Person grades the Panthers' performances by unit; Amanti Edwards lists the team's bests and worsts from the season's first half.

Trimmings

Oakland activated LB Aaron Curry from their PUP list; San Diego did the same with linemen Brandyn Dombrowki and Johnnie Troutman.

Buffalo placed former Bronco Erik Pears and CB Terrence McGee on IR; Atlanta guard Garrett Reynolds also went to IR; Cardinals LB O'Brien Schofield and Eagles T Todd Herremans will follow; Packers LB Nick Perry had wrist surgery and is likely done for the year.

Saints GM Mickey Loomis returned from his bounty-induced suspension this week.

The Giants have announced they are providing a $500K donation to Sandy relief efforts.

Scrapple

PFF's best (Von Miller) and worst (Willis McGahee) players from Week 9; Von leads the league in fourth-quarter sacks and pressures; PFW calls Trindon Holliday their ST Player of the Week.

Scott Kacsmar revisits the week's comeback attempts, noting that this is the seventh season in which Peyton has had three fourth-quarter comebacks.

Mike Lombardi expects the Andy Reid and Michael Vick eras in Philadelphia to come to an end sooner than later; Albert Breer says Sean Payton taking over as Cowboys coach is definitely possible; Chase Stuart says it's deja vu all over again for the Bears, who are getting loads of scoring from its defense and ho-hum performances from its offense.

Midseason punditry: Andy Benoit names Manning, Ryan Clady, Demaryius Thomas, Zane Beadles (!), Von Miller, Wesley Woodyard, and Champ Bailey to his AFC Pro Bowl list, and changes his tune on Demaryius; Don Banks calls Manning's return the best story, the comeback in San Diego the best game, and Denver's QB swap the best move so far; Jason Cole includes Von Miller among his midseason All-Pros and names Peyton his Comeback POY; PFW calls John Elway their midseason exec of the year; Thomas is an honorable mention in Doug Farrar's list of underrated offensive players; Pete Prisco names Clady, Von Miller, and Champ Bailey among his All-Pros; Mike Silver expects PMFM & Co. to keep rolling, and he continues to ignore everything he learned about Tim Tebow pre-Pittsburgh.

For some reason, PK thinks he thinks that people give a flying f$%^ whether it's Peyton or Adrian Peterson who wins the Comeback POY award, and he hears from a fan thankful that Josh McDaniels & Co. took Demaryius Thomas over Dez Bryant.

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

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