Good Morning, Broncos fans! With Peyton Manning having been sacked twice and administered a concussion test on Sunday, Jeff Legwold thinks it's suddenly time for Denver to bring out some heavier personnel groupings.
We're not buying it, for even a second.
Obviously, Denver's chances go down the tubes if Peyton gets hurt - but that has been the case since Day 1, and is also true for most NFL teams - especially those with great quarterbacks.
As Ted has been telling us since March, the Manning offense puts 11 personnel (one back, one end, three wideouts) on the field and likes to keep them out there, preferably in a slow no-huddle fashion. It is Manning and Denver's most effective grouping, and a couple of sacks is not a reason to change course there.
Don't forget that both of Sunday's sacks were of the long, coverage variety, and were therefore Manning's fault. Protection can never be to blame when a QB holds the ball as long as Peyton uncharacteristically did on those two plays, which we'll chalk up to some fine coverage by KC's secondary and Romeo Crennel's typical success against Manning.
Sunday also featured a pair of lineup changes in the form of Chris Kuper and Knowshon Moreno starting, and 12 of the 16 sacks taken by Peyton have come in games where Manny Ramirez started at right guard. Kuper's previous three starts featured zero sacks of Manning.
On top of that, the Bucs defense ranks 28th in the league in sacks, making protection even less of a concern this week.
Add this all up, and there's just no reason for Denver to be scared out of their bread-and-butter offensive personnel grouping, just because Peyton took a couple of losses on Sunday. Sacks are part of the game, and with Kuper back in the lineup, and presuming Peyton doesn't hang around the pocket as long as his Denver predecessor did, there's nothing to worry about.
John Fox and Jacob Hester (videos) speak with the press; Fox says Hester's pass blocking is a big reason for the signing, while the back has no expectations beyond special teams as of yet, and admits it's odd to be a Bronco after spending his first four years with the rival Chargers.
Guess this needs to be mentioned - even if the possibility is nil - but with the magic number at one, Denver can also clinch the AFCW if both they and San Diego tie their games this week.
In his review of the game for PFF, Neil Hornsby says Knowshon Moreno's performance Sunday was good but nothing particularly special, Mike Adams played the game of his career, and that for once, Denver's linebacking corps missed Joe Mays.
Legwold also wants to focus on turnovers as a cause for concern in Denver, but the team has been +3 in that department during their six-game winning streak (+3 against San Diego, and even in the five games since). Peyton Manning is tied for seventh-best among QBs in terms of interception rate, and of course, we've already been over the reasons for their lopsided fumble numbers.
Part of Denver's better turnover numbers comes from them ranking seventh in the league in interceptions, even if the game-ending pick on Sunday was a cheap one.
We won't beat Legwold up all day here, though. He says much of the damage in the rushing game Sunday came against Denver's base defense, and PFF's grades bear that out: Wesley Woodyard, Keith Brooking, D.J. Williams, and Kevin Vickerson had the worst grades of the entire team on Sunday, and this was based upon their play against the run.
As IAOFM has been saying for many months now, don't expect Chris Gronkowski to carry the ball anytime soon.
Not sure why Brian Baldinger thinks this is so terrible, but long after Sunday's game had ended, Jamaal Charles asked for PMFM's autograph, and Dwayne Bowe had his picture taken with the QB.
Tampa corner Eric Wright, who missed Sunday's game due to an Achilles injury, lost his appeal of an Adderall-induced suspension and will miss the Bucs' next four games.
That said, the Bucs have given up the most passing yardage of any team in the league this year, including 510 yards to Eli Manning in Week 2. And as we all know, Peyton and Eli trade in-season tips on common opponents - which should help to some degree, even if that matchup was so long ago.
PFF's Thomas Maney reviews Falcons/Bucs, noting the weak Tampa Bay pass rush we mentioned earlier, some terrible pass coverage by the Bucs corners, and a spotty performance from Josh Freeman.
Cam Newton threw for two scores and then punched two more in on the ground to lead Carolina (3-8) to a 30-22 victory over the Eagles (3-8), who have now lost seven straight.
That cheer was not extended to Pats DE Jermaine Cunningham, who got a four-game ban for PED use; Seahawks corners Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner are presenting some lame excuses for their PED suspensions.
Giants RB Andre Brown, Niners KR/WR Kyle Williams, Cowboys LB Bruce Carter, and Bears G Lance Louis were all placed on IR; Texans LB Brooks Reed suffered a serious groin injury Sunday and could miss significant time.
Tennessee canned OC Chris Palmer, promoting QB coach Dowell Loggains in his place.
New England, Baltimore, and Houston can also clinch their divisions with wins this week, while a Denver win coupled with an Atlanta win will clinch the NFCS for the Falcons.
The Week 14 and 15 Sunday night games will not be flexed, leaving just the awful Week 16 matchup between the Chargers and LOLJets to consider. Several matchups that week would appear prime candidates to be flexed, including Giants/Ravens, Bengals/Steelers, Falcons/Lions, and Saints/Cowboys.
Chase Stuart examines a notable stat for each playoff contender, including Denver's previously mentioned terrible fumble fortunes.
In their discussions of Sunday's games, the Football Outsiders guys obviously went off on Romeo Crennel's decision-making and Greg Gumbel's stupidity.
Khaled Elsayed considers the reasonable DPOY case of Cincy's Geno Atkins, who figures to get zero attention from the media with Von Miller, J.J. Watt, and Aldon Smith to consider.
Chris Brown shares a fine reading list, which can also provide some holiday shopping ideas for your fellow football fans.
Bucky Brooks says not to forget about Oklahoma's Landry Jones when discussing QB prospects for next year, putting a mid-second-round grade on the senior.
IAOFM's Patron Saint apparently went off on a brief anti-Cutler rant on Sunday, hours before Jay knelt down to tie teammate J'Marcus Webb's shoelaces on the field, an act he's chalking up to his new fatherly instincts.