Limping into the bye (literally, but not figuratively)

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Good time for a bye, right?

At 7-1, Denver is in great shape, but a bit banged up physically. A week off should do wonders as the team prepares for a crucial stretch which figures to go a long way in determining the AFCW and AFC playoff pictures: at San Diego, versus Kansas City, at New England, and at Kansas City.

Of course, it all starts with Peyton Manning, who Chris Mortensen reports has two sprained ankles, including a dreaded high ankle sprain in his right leg. Mort says Manning suffered his injuries against Jacksonville, which raises the question of why Peyon was not listed on the team's injury reports prior to the Indy game.

If the NFL wants to look into it, there figures to be a hefty fine in there somewhere (from the league that doesn't condone gambling, of course).

Julius Thomas and Duke Ihenacho left Sunday's game with ankle injuries and did not return; Chris Harris left with what seemed to be a mild concussion, but there's nothing written about his status today.

Obviously, we'll learn more about Denver's collective health as the week and that health progress, and we'll keep you posted. 

Broncos

Doug Farrar calls yesterday the Broncos' most balanced win of the season, but the wins against the Giants and Eagles were no slouches.

Paul Klee (and Chris Harris) thinks John Fox needs to be more aggressive with his fourth-down decisions, and of course, we agree wholeheartedly.

Andrew Mason chronicles yesterday's wild second half.

Dave Krieger says John Elway wanted a "meaningful role" with the Broncos following his retirement, but that Mike Shanahan chose not to entertain the idea.

We all know the Broncos have been pretty far from playing their best football, but Jeff Legwold presents this point in a typically Chicken Little-like manner.

Needless to say, Shanny appreciated the pregame tribute but was disappointed by what followed.

AFCW

Kansas City (8-0) eked out a 23-17 home win over Cleveland (3-5) thanks to Alex Smith throwing his first two touchdown passes in a month.

Oakland (3-4) jumped out to a 21-3 lead against Pittsburgh (2-5), and held on for a 21-18 win that started with a 93-yard touchdown run by Terrelle Pryor - the longest by a QB in league history. Raiders DC Jason Tarver handled a penalty called against his unit in classic Al Davis-like fashion.

San Diego (4-3) had its bye and will travel to Washington next week; Kansas City will play the Bills in Buffalo; Oakland will host Philadelphia next Sunday.

AFC

New England (6-2) overcame a 17-3 halftime deficit in a 27-17 win over Miami (3-4), which turned the ball over three times in their fourth straight loss. After the game, Dolphins center and former Gator Mike Pouncey was served a subpoena to testify before a grand jury in a gun-trafficking investigation involving Aaron Hernandez.

Cincinnati (6-2) pounced all over the visiting Jets (4-4) in a 49-9 thrashing; Andy Dalton threw five touchdown passes, four of them to Marvin Jones; Geno Smith's two pick-sixes accounted for the Bengals' other two scores.

Interconference

Jacksonville (0-8) got mauled in London 42-10 by San Francisco (6-2), which won its fifth straight game on the strength of a trio of Colin Kaepernick touchdowns (one passing, two rushing).

Buffalo (3-5) was annihilated 35-17 by the host Saints (6-1), who got five touchdown passes from Drew Brees.

NFC

Detroit (5-3) pulled off a wild 31-30 victory over Dallas (4-4), as Matthew Stafford capped a last-minute touchdown drive by reaching the ball over the goal line when everyone at Ford Field expected him instead to clock it. Calvin Johnson caught 14 passes for a whopping 329 yards and one touchdown.

Green Bay (5-2) whipped Minnesota (1-6) to the tune of 44-31; Cordarrelle Patterson of the Vikings returned the opening kickoff 109 yards for a touchdown, Green Bay's Micah Hyde returned a punt 93 yards in the second half, and one of Aaron Rodgers' two touchdown passes went for 76 yards to Jordy Nelson.

Arizona (4-4) picked off Matt Ryan four times and got 162 yards and an 80-yard touchdown from Andre Ellington to take down the reeling Falcons (2-5) by a 27-13 margin.

The Giants (2-6) won their second straight game, this one a 15-7 snoozer over Philadelphia (3-5) that included just 31 first downs.

News

The NFL's annual trade deadline is at 4pm ET on Tuesday.

The Cardinals are already putting out word that they will seek a trade of WR Larry Fitzgerald next offseason.

Green Bay hopes to have LB Clay Matthews back from his broken thumb in Week 10.

Analysis

Andy Benoit, Mike TanierWill Brinson, Don Banks, Frank Schwab, and John Clayton wrap up Sunday's action.

Mike Tanier discusses the health problems of offensive tackles around the league, including Denver's.

Doug Drinen takes a statistical crack at defining how close specific football games have been.

Jason Lisk doesn't see much proof that Colts RB Trent Richardson is more than just a guy.

Here's Richard Dietsch's weekly media roundup.

RIP Lou Reed, who passed at 71 of liver disease.

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

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