RIP, Jeff Lewis Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! In just a few hours' time, we'll be learning which subpar playoff team (between Indianapolis and Baltimore) will be visiting the rarified air on Saturday afternoon to take on your top-seeded Broncos.

By edging the middling Bengals and their scattershot quarterback (who Mike Klis pronounced earlier in the year would meet Cam Newton "in a future SB or three") by a 19-13 margin, the Texans earned a return trip to New England and a chance to avenge the 42-14 thrashing they suffered there four weeks ago.

Houston will need to bring with them the defense that showed up last night, and find the confident Matt Schaub who threw 21 touchdowns in the first 12 games of the season - not the milquetoast one who's thrown just one in the past five.

The Texans would also be well-advised to find Kubes's balls before departing for Foxboro, because his timid fourth-down decisions gave the Bengals a late chance at taking a game they had no business competing in, even less winning.

One does not defeat these Patriots by settling for field goals instead of touchdowns, or by punting the ball over going for the jugular. Of course, part of this is because Bill Belichick doesn't tend to make the same weak choices that Marvin Lewis so often does.

As for whom to root for today? Well, neither team is particularly good, but the Colts have no defense. Of course, the Broncos didn't have much trouble with Baltimore's either, and perhaps it comes down to whether you'd prefer an opponent whose best player is a running back (Baltimore's Ray Rice), or a quarterback (Indy's Andrew Luck).

Lame, outdated playoff football narratives* aside, quarterbacks are always the scarier threat, as Aaron Rodgers, Joe Webb, and Adrian Peterson showed in Green Bay's easy 24-10 win last night.

This is sort of splitting hairs, because I think the Broncos would crush either team, but I'd rather see Joe Flacco than Luck next Saturday.

* You know, the one that says winning in the playoffs is all about running the ball and stopping the run.

Coaching Carousel

One of Mike McCoy's suitors dropped out this morning, as the Bills have kept it in Western New York, by hiring Doug Marrone from Syracuse. FWIW, Marrone's quarterback at Cuse, Ryan Nassib, is considered one of the better QB prospects in the coming draft. Could Marrone/Nassib follow in the footsteps of Mike Sherman/Ryan Tannehill, who went together from Texas A&M to Buffalo's rival Dolphins?

McCoy has plenty of competition for the other jobs he's vying for; the Eagles met for over nine hours with Chip Kelly, who had reportedly been close to a deal with Cleveland on Friday night. Philly also requested permission to interview Bengals OC Jay Gruden, and is reportedly interested in Bruce Arians, as are Chicago and San Diego.

The Bears, who will along with the Eagles will interview McCoy today, will also meet with old friend Rick Dennison and will interview longtime for NFL QB coach and current Montreal Alouettes head man Marc Trestman.

Back in Carolina, where McCoy got his coaching start, Ron Rivera met with owner Jerry Richardson and will get to keep his job heading into the 2013 season.

San Diego reportedly is considering Jim Mora, whose OC would be Noel Mazzone - Philip Rivers's coordinator at NC State.

For their parts, BCS title game coaches Nick Saban and Brian Kelly say they don't plan to pursue NFL gigs this year.

Niners personnel director Tom Gamble is considered the favorite to succeed Mike Tannenbaum as GM of the LOLJets.

Broncos

RIP SB 32/33 champ Jeff Lewis, who passed away Saturday at 39 of an unreported cause. For a time, Lewis was considered the potential heir apparent to John Elway.

Woody Paige claims there's no chance that Peyton Manning would retire should the Broncos take home the Lombardi trophy next month, and while this is easily believable, let's not forget that this comes from the same hack who pronounced there was zero possibility of Peyton coming to the Broncos. You know, 12 days before Peyton came to the Broncos.

According to Mike Klis, the Broncos are unlikely to allow McCoy to take many, if any, of the team's assistants with him, should he land a head gig elsewhere. But it's worth considering that McCoy wouldn't likely be joining an AFCW rival, as Dennis Allen did.

Naturally, his Denver teammates say Manning substantially raised the standards for excellence up and down the roster.

Kevin Vickerson says he'd like to devote his time to helping underprivileged children avoid drugs and violence once his player career is done.

Klis thinks the 2005 Colts were Peyton's best team; FWIW, PFR's SRS says it was the 2007 squad, followed by 2004, 2005, and this year's Broncos.

John Elway visited Friday with Mike Florio on PFT Live.

News/Analysis

Dr. James Andrews vehemently disputed Shanny's claim that the surgeon had cleared RG3 to return to action a few plays after suffering a sprained LCL against the Ravens.

Despite Bill Polian's moronic claim that it's impossible to build teams more efficiently through advanced analysis, many teams are trying to do just that.

Turns out Scott Pioli was literally on the outside looking in for most of Clark Hunt's meeting with Andy Reid in Philly the other day.

Matt Bowen offers his thoughts on yesterday's games; Pete Prisco doesn't see the Texans offering New England a great challenge.

Doug Farrar studies the influence of former Nevada coach Chris Ault's Pistol offense on the NFL, and suggests that Ault should end up an OC in the pros next year.

Old friend Trevor Pryce discusses the legendary leadership of his former teammate Ray Lewis, who is about to play his final home game today.

Which team would you prefer for the Broncos to face in Saturday's divisional round game?

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

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