AFCW tightens (sort of) Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! The AFCW got nominally more bunched yesterday, after the Raiders rallied for an overtime win over the decimated Jaguars.

Oakland is now 2-4 and one game behind Denver and San Diego after they overcame a 20-6 deficit for a 26-23 victory. Jacksonville lost Maurice Jones-Drew and Blaine Gabbert to injury, and then backup QB Chad Henne showed exactly why the Jags hadn't yanked Gabbert yet. The ex-Dolphin was 9 for 20 for a woeful 71 yards, and was sacked three times for 26 yards - 45 net passing yards on 23 dropbacks. These are numbers that remind us of...oh, never mind.

Jacksonville wideout Cecil Shorts fumbled on the opening possession of overtime, and Sebastian Janikowski ended the game with a 40-yard kick.

As for Carson Palmer, who does he think he is? Jake Plummer?

Oakland's next game will be Sunday at Arrowhead against the 1-5 Chiefs, who were idle this week. Mark your calendars - should be a good...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

AFC

Houston/Baltimore turned out not to be much of a matchup, as the Texans (6-1) laid a 43-13 beating on the Ravens (5-2), on the strength of two Matt Schaub TD passes, a pair of Arian Foster scores, a pick-six, and a safety.

Mark Sanchez and the Jets nearly pulled off the stunner (Earth to Nantz) in New England, but ultimately fell 29-26 in overtime, with the game ending on a Sanchez fumble.

The injury-ravaged Steelers held the host Bengals to 185 yards of total offense for a 24-17 win; Cincinnati has now lost three straight games, and will face the visiting Broncos in Week 9 after a bye. Here's another one of those matchups that looked tough for Denver a long time ago, but two of Cincy's three wins have come against the league's worst teams in Cleveland and Jacksonville.

Indianapolis is 3-3 and has already surpassed its 2011 win total, after a 17-13 victory over Cleveland; Andrew Luck ran in both of the Colts' touchdowns. Even better, head coach Chuck Pagano, who has been battling leukemia, was sent home from the hospital yesterday.

Tennessee and Buffalo surprisingly combined for 69 points and 772 yards of offense in a 35-34 Titans win buoyed by the re-emergence of Chris Johnson, who ran for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Matt Hasselbeck threw the game-tying score on a 15-yard pass to Nate Washington on 4th-and-9 with a minute left in the game, with the extra point being the difference in the game.

NFC

New Orleans will head to Denver Sunday night riding a two-game winning streak, after edging the Bucs 35-28, thanks to four more TD passes from Drew Brees. The third of the four, which all came in the first half, was capped off with Joseph Morgan making an insane individual effort to get into the end zone.

Despite allowing 513 yards of offense, including 415 net passing yards to Josh Freeman & Co., the Saints defense came up huge on one stunning series. In the third quarter, with the Saints up 28-21, Freeman connected with former Charger Vincent Jackson for a 95-yard catch and run, but Jackson failed to get into the end zone, as Malcolm Jenkins chased him down at the one-yard line. New Orleans stuffed three runs by LeGarrette Blount and another by Freeman, and the Saints marched 95 yards to go up by two touchdowns.

But Tampa Bay nearly tied the game in the closing seconds, as first, Jackson was barely unable to get his feet down in the back of the end zone, and then Mike Williams caught an apparent touchdown pass as time expired - but the play was ruled incomplete - Williams had been nudged out of bounds, and he was flagged (correctly) for illegal touching.

The G-Men edged Shanny & Co. 27-23 as Eli Manning and RG3 engaged in a late shootout, with the winner coming on a gorgeous 77-yard pass from Eli to Victor Cruz inside two minutes remaining.

Aaron Rodgers threw for three touchdowns in a 30-20 road win for Green Bay in St. Louis. Rodgers hit the 150-TD pass mark, annihilating Dan Marino's record for getting there with the fewest interceptions (42 for Rodgers, versus 69 for Marino).

But the Packers remain a game behind the 5-2 Vikings, who held off the visiting Cards for a 21-14 victory, thanks to 153 yards and a score from Adrian Peterson. Christian Ponder was woeful (45 net passing yards on 20 dropbacks, one TD, two picks), but all the guy does is win?

Dallas used four Dan Bailey field goals and one Tony Romo TD pass to get past Carolina 19-14; Cam Newton continues to sulk at the podium after losses. Bizarrely, the Cowboys were given a pre-game pep talk on Saturday by none other than former legendary Washington coach Joe Gibbs.

Broncos

San Diego faces a fine and possible loss of a draft choice for their bungled Stickum incident; Nick Canepa looks for big-name replacement for Norv Turner but comes up empty.

Chris Harris spent Saturday speaking with some local kids about the importance of having a mentor.

Happy Birthday to Willis McGahee, who turned 31 yesterday.

Scrapple

The NFLPA may challenge the league's selection of Paul Tagliabue to hear the bounty suspension appeals, due to a litany of conflicts of interest.

St. Louis is reportedly shopping several players and seeking draft picks in return; RB Steven Jackson is presumed to be among the players on the block.

New Browns CEO Joe Banner reportedly already has final say on personnel decisions, which would make sense.

Washington lost TE Fred Davis for the year with a torn Achilles tendon, and they will re-sign Chris Cooley to replace him. The team was already without WR Pierre Garcon yesterday due to a torn tendon in his foot which is expected to keep him out for at least another two games. Here are the rest of the day's notable injuries.

Keith Goldner surveys the most pathetic decisions of the day, led by Browns coach Pat Shurmur choosing to punt on 4th-and-1 from the plus-41. That's pretty much an unforgivable call regardless of time and score, but even worse while down four points with six minutes to go; Brian Burke's advanced metrics.

Andy Benoit, Mike TanierMatt Bowen, Will Brinson, Bill BarnwellMike Silver, Peter KingClark Judge, John Clayton, Don Banks, Jason Cole, and Alex Marvez review the day's action; MJD's most and least valuable players from Sunday.

Here are all 55 touchdowns scored yesterday in a handy 4-minute, 33-second video.

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

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