Plenty to play for Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! It may be cliched for the team to say it's not looking past Sunday's game against the woeful Chiefs.

But considering the prize that awaits a regular-season-ending victory, it's not hard to believe. After all, the Broncos will guarantee themselves a first-round bye and two weeks to prep for their playoff opener, if they're able to dispatch with the NFL's worst team.

Even better, if the Colts somehow manage to knock off the Texans in Indy on Sunday (in an early kickoff), Denver will have an opportunity to snatch home-field advantage from Houston with a win.

Win Sunday, and the Broncos will have two weeks to heal up, rest up, and game plan for whomever they'll end up hosting in the divisional round - New England would appear the likeliest opponent, if Denver remains the number-two seed.

Broncos

From the official site, John Fox's Monday presser (video), Q&A sessions with punter Britton Colquitt and defensive line coach Jay Rodgers, and notable figures from Sunday.

Denver hopes to have Chris Kuper return to practice this week; tests on Trindon Holliday's sprained ankle revealed no structural damage.

Peyton Manning says he often keys off how defenses line up against Jacob Tamme when making his reads at the line; Fox makes the case for Peyton as MVP.

Ronnie Hillman seems to have a good understanding of just how important it is that he continues to improve as a blocker.

One has to figure Kuper won't play on Sunday, with Manny Ramirez again standing in as he's done for much of the season. For his part, Manny turned in his best game of the year, according to PFF's grades.

Jeff Legwold thinks the Broncos need to sustain their success across multiple seasons to rank with the best in team history, and he considers what must happen for them to do so.

Legwold says the Broncos must limit Jamaal Charles on Sunday.

Much to the presumable delight of (most) Colorado taxpayers, the Broncos don't plan to pursue putting a retractable roof over SAF@MH. Or, they realize they'd have no chance at public approval to fund such a move, even if it might help the city attract a Super Bowl.

Chiefs

Romeo Crennel is worried his Chiefs will have already checked out emotionally by the time the season finale in Denver arrives; defensive assistant Adam Zimmer (son of Bengals DC Mike) was arrested under suspicion of DWI after a one-car accident.

Brady Quinn was especially atrocious Sunday against the Colts, especially while under pressure, but the Chiefs running game and defense were apparent bright spots.

In fact, the Chiefs dubiously ran for the most yards in NFL history in a losing effort, and Jamaal Charles now holds the all-time record for the highest per-carry average of any running back.

News

Jay Paris says the Chargers having beaten up on the LOLJets won't end up saving the hides of either A.J. Smith or Norv Turner, who will be fired at season's end by the wishy-washy Dean Spanos. Meanwhile, Philip Rivers hilariously thinks the Chargers are "close" to being contenders.

With Carson Palmer having suffered a bruised lung and cracked ribs Sunday, Matt Leinart is expected to start for Oakland at San Diego. The Raiders are assured of finishing third in the AFCW and could end up with a pick as high as third overall in the 2013 Draft.

Eagles QB Nick Foles broke his throwing hand; Niners WR Mario Manningham and Steelers TE Heath Miller tore up their knees; Browns WR Mohamed Massaquoi, Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts, and Bills TE Scott Chandler were placed on IR.

Jay Cutler apparently realizes he can no longer blame his own struggles on the offensive coordinator, so he's sticking up for Mike Tice.

The LOLJets are searching for a new GM to replace Mike Tannenbaum, whom they'd reportedly like to keep around to manage their cap and contracts. The irony here is that Tannenbaum's biggest gaffes have included giving Mark Sanchez a bloated extension this year, and not reading the details of Tim Tebow's contract prior to the trade with Denver.

Analysis

Merril Hoge had a field day ripping the Ultimate Teammate™ to shreds, calling him a "phony" and likening him to a "three-day-old fish." As for why Timmy would feel entitled to a job he had not earned, Bomani Jones writes that it's just the continuation of a pattern that began five years ago, when he got to start over Cam Newton despite having been outperformed by the more talented player in practice. Sounds like a familiar story, as our friend Brady Quinn was just saying.

PFF's best and worst (Kevin Vickerson) players of Week 16; the Football Outsiders discuss the weekend's games.

Brian Burke has created a column generator to help the awful beat writers of the sports world do their thing; Will Leitch reviews the best sports media performances of the year.

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

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