Raiders Week not quite the same Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Raiders Week has something of a different feel this time around, at least to us.

For one, the time between games is only half what it normally is - so there's hardly time to get frothed up about the classic rivalry. And of course, it's also softened by the Raiders not being a very good team.

But there's also the matter of feeling sympathy on multiple levels for Oakland's head coach.

Dennis Allen was Denver's DC for only a season, but the job he did in helping turn the Broncos defense around, his intelligence, and well-spokenness all combine to make us root for the man on some level, even if he's leading the Silver and Black.

Sadly, Dennis lost his 66-year-old father Grady this week, and for that, our thoughts go out to him and his family. Of course, John Fox and Champ Bailey offered the same on the part of the Broncos.

Grady Allen was a star at Texas A&M (where Dennis would earn a football scholarship) and later a linebacker for the Falcons, for whom Dan Reeves would eventually hire Dennis without knowing his bloodlines.

As if that weren't enough for Oakland's head coach to be dealing with, his team is mired in a five-game losing streak, and owner Mark Davis is starting to show he didn't fall very far from the Crypt Keeper's tree.

PFW's Hub Arkush reports that the Raiders are in talks with none other than Jon Gruden about a potential return to Oakland.

Just when we feared the Raiders were driving away from dysfunction, what with the hiring of GM Reggie McKenzie and then Allen, the son of Big Al is perhaps ready to screw it all up again.

Guess we shouldn't be too disappointed.

Perhaps Allen can follow the Mike Shanahan path, where he lands elsewhere as a coordinator and makes a triumphant return to Denver - to succeed John Fox, after Peyton Manning and Fox ride off following a pair of SB wins.

That would be a perfect outcome to all of this, and like Shanny, Allen could go on to punish the Raiders and their owner for years with on-field Broncos dominance.

Raiders week would be fun again, in every way.

Broncos

Videos: John Fox, Mike McCoy, Jack Del Rio, Peyton Manning, and Champ Bailey speak after practice; NFL Films and Brian Billick preview the matchup.

It's sounds like the Broncos will be without Wesley Woodyard (ankle) and Brandon Stokley (hip) tomorrow night, with D.J. Williams and Jacob Tamme figuring to fill in. If that's the case, then it will be up to Williams and Danny Trevathan to stop the defensive bleeding as it relates to opposing tight ends.

Ah, youth. Von Miller says he could have played yesterday had there been a game; Von has more sacks on his own than does the entire Oakland defense.

The players say they're not looking past tomorrow, even as Champ welcomes the coming ten-day break between the Oakland and Baltimore games.

In his weekly podcast, John Elway calls the first of Manning's two TD passes to Demaryius Thomas one of the best throws he's ever seen, and offers Allen his sympathies.

These Broncos have found mighty contributions from a remarkable mix of undrafted youngsters and ancient-for-the-NFL veterans.

Presumably, nobody is still focusing on the wobble of Peyton's passes, what with him completing 68% of them (second to Alex Smith, who's thrown less than half as many balls).

Uh oh. Just like he said there was no way the Broncos would beat New Orleans, Cincy, and Carolina, Mike Klis now predicts there's "no way" the Colts would beat Denver in the playoffs, and he lazily lays all of the 40-point games by last year's opponents at the feet of Dennis Allen, without mentioning the turnovers made by the subject of his own book that contributed to them in a big way.

At least Jeff Legwold got the memo that seven of Denver's touchdowns have come on defense and special teams, but he left out the two safeties. And, he's correct in suggesting that fan expectations now for the offense are absolutely ridiculous.

Raiders

Darren McFadden, Mike Goodson, Mike Mitchell, Matt Giordano, and Jack Crawford returned to practice and are expected to play tomorrow, while Richard Seymour remains out and is unlikely to suit up; Oakland signed RB/FB Jamize Olawale off the Dallas practice squad.

McFadden reportedly looked great at practice, and the game will actually be televised locally in the Oakland area.

Steve Palazzolo reviews Raiders/Browns for PFF, seeing a decent performance by Carson Palmer and some success in the pass rush from Desmond Bryant and Miles Burris, and he even leads off with a mention of the Drive.

Andy Barall offers a nuanced look at the HOF case of Ray Guy, who had a rough day in the 1977 AFC title game against the Broncos, 11 weeks after Tom Jackson uttered the phrase for which this here website is named.

News

It's unfortunately become clear that the household of the late Jovan Belcher and Kasandra Perkins was one with little regard for the seriousness of guns.

Bears LB Brian Urlacher may be done for the regular season; Arizona cut TE Todd Heap; Jacksonville waived LB Clint Session, who is still suffering from the effects of the three concussions he suffered last season; Houston signed CB Stanford Routt, who had been scheduled to work out for Pittsburgh after his visit with the Texans; San Diego re-signed lineman Colin Baxter.

A slew of players landed on IR, which is a good reminder of why an 18-game regular season is a deplorable, inhumane idea: C David Molk and WR Seyi Ajirotutu of the Chargers, Miami T Jake Long, Giants T Sean Locklear, Pats WR Julian Edelman, Bengals WR Mohamed SanuDetroit WRs Titus Young and Ryan Broyles, and Titans T David Stewart and S Robert Johnson.

Before being waived by the Seahawks, former NJ footballer Braylon Edwards said it's not the fault of Buttfumble, but rather of the "idiots calling shots" for the woes of the 2012 LOLJets, and we heartily agree, even if Buttfumble doesn't make for a very good NFL QB.

Sexy Rexy and Mike Tannenbaum reportedly prefer to stick with Buttfumble, while owner Sticks Johnson apparently wants to go with the 2009 SEC Champ. But no matter what happens, Rexy claims the LOLJets' QB situation is "a lot better situation than probably a lot of teams." Uhh, challenge.

Washington CB Cedric Griffin was suspended four games for PEDs; marijuana charges against Lions DT Nick Fairley in Alabama have been dropped.

Professional football in India is in its infancy, but with the broadcast of live games on TV about to happen, and the country's massive population, the potential for the sport thereis enormous.

Analysis

Bucky Brooks studies tape of New England and sees an offense ready for another deep playoff run; Matt Bowen breaks down Seattle's use of the read option against Chicago.

Don Banks thinks Baltimore's loss to Pittsburgh is a killer for their future prospects, as he doubts they can go on the road to win two playoff games on the way to SB 47.

Mike Lombardi and Peter King rave over rookie QB play, while Chase Stuart focuses on Andrew Luck; Scott Kacsmar goes over the week's comeback attempts

PFF's best (Jacob Tamme, Von Miller, Chris Harris, Trindon Holliday) and worst (Erik Lorig, Michael Bennet, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Mason Foster, and Ronde Barber of the Bucs) players from Week 13, plus Nathan Jahnke notes the vast improvement of Zane Beadles's pass blocking among his observations.

Over on his personal blog, IAOFM reader Bob Morris puts far more thought into what criteria should determine HOF induction than any of the current electors seem to bother with.

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

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