Good Morning, Broncos fans! Denver (2-3) has an opportunity to tie San Diego (3-2) for first-place in the AFCW tonight; if not, they'll maintain a dubious pace just ahead of the one-win Raiders and Chiefs.
Oakland (1-4) nearly pulled off a shocker in Atlanta, where the Falcons needed a last-second 55-yard field goal from Matt Bryant to escape with a 23-20 win and remain unbeaten. 17 points were scored in a wild final three minutes, with Asante Samuel returning an interception of Carson Palmer 79 yards for a score, Darren McFadden scoring with 40 seconds left, and Bryant capping yet another late game-winning drive by Matt Ryan, who had been picked off by Dennis Allen's boys three times in the first half.
Kansas City (1-5) got demolished in Tampa Bay 38-10 as the Brady Quinn-led Chiefs got outgained by 202 yards, and Quinn threw two interceptions (including a pick-six by Ronde Barber) in his first start since 2009. The Chiefs are denying that embattled GM Scott Pioli has been offered a two-year extension, as was reported by CBS's Jason La Canfora earlier in the day. But Jason Whitlock believes management only issued that denial because the team had just been pasted again on the field, and he says the recent Matt Cassel/booing fans/Eric Winston drama is just proof that the NFL and its players have no respect for their own fans.
Von Miller is looking for some better outcomes against San Diego, after his rookie meetings with the Chargers resulted first in a benching, and second in a broken thumb that hampered him late in the year.
Neil Hornsby laughs off the idea that a Denver win would be an upset, he figures Randy McMichael is more likely than Antonio Gates to be helping Chargers LT Mike Harris block Elvis Dumervil, and he notes that San Diego has defended shorter pass routes far better than deeper ones.
Andrew Mason expects Chris Harris to play outside in place of Tracy Porter when the Broncos are in their base defense, but to shift back inside for sub packages, with Tony Carter assuming Porter's outside role there.
Jeff Legwold gives both pass and run offenses the edge over the defenses in tonight's matchup, and favors Denver in special teams.
Michael Gehlken thinks San Diego will have four tight ends suited up tonight, and says Eddie Royal's hamstring issues may keep him from returning punts.
Kevin Acee expects yet another memorable meeting between Philip Rivers and the Chargers with both Manning and the Broncos.
Atlanta is the sole undefeated team after Houston allowed six touchdown passes to Aaron Rodgers - three of them to Jordy Nelson - in a 42-24 Packers win.
Baltimore is 5-1 after holding on for a wild 31-29 over the visiting Cowboys, who mismanaged the clock in the final minute after missing a two-point conversion on a drop by Dez Bryant and recovering an onside kick. Dan Bailey's last-second FG attempt from 51 was long enough but wide left; Jacoby Jones returned a kickoff 108 yards for the Ravens.
The entire AFCE sits at 3-3, as New England lost in Seattle, while the Jets, Bills, and Dolphins all won. Russell Wilson threw two late touchdown passes, including a 46-yarder to Sidney Rice with 1:18 remaining, to lead the Seahawks to a stunning 24-23 victory over the Patriots, who scored just one touchdown in six red-zone trips. Tom Brady and Seattle corner Richard Sherman were apparently engaged in some healthy trash talk during the game, and Sherman pulled a massive troll job on Brady via Twitter afterward.
Shonn Greene ran for three touchdowns and Mark Sanchez threw for two more, as the Jets whipped Indianapolis 35-9. Sorry, wrote that one wrong. Let's try again - Tim Tebow led the Jets to a 35-9 win over the visiting Colts, throwing for a first down on a fake punt, and gaining a crucial seven yards on four carries. Shonn Greene and Mark Sanchez chipped in with five touchdowns. Les Carpenter says it's apparent that Sexy Rexy isn't so high on his punt protector, even making it sound like the fake was installed to appease Jets owner Woody Johnson.
Miami won a 17-14 slopfest over St. Louis despite being outgained by a whopping 462-192; Ryan Tannehill notched two TD passes but also threw a backward pass out of bounds for a 17-yard loss.
Buffalo's 19-16 win came in overtime at Arizona, where Jay Feely tied the game for the Cardinals with a late 61-yard field goal, but clanged a potential game-winning 38-yarder off the left upright just moments later.
Cleveland ended their eleven-game losing streak by scoring 27 second-half points in a 34-24 win over the visiting rival Bengals; Brandon Weeden threw two TD passes for the Browns, while Andy Dalton's three touchdowns were tempered by four giveaways, including a pick-six by Sheldon Brown.
The G-Men intercepted Alex Smith three times and pulled off a stifling 26-3 victory at San Francisco.
RG3 accounted for three touchdowns, including a game-icing 76-yard run to help Washington to a 38-26 home win over Minnesota, snapping an eight-game home losing streak.
Detroit beat Philly 26-23 in overtime after scoring 17 points in the final eleven minutes, including ten points in the last four minutes.
The Vikings will reportedly host a game in London next season; Jacksonville and San Francisco are facing off in another 2013 game there.
Although Lions WR Calvin Johnson admitted to playing through a concussion in Week 4, and RG3 stayed out of his team's Week 5 game after suffering a concussion, it appears the league is going to hit Shanny & Co. with a significant fine for the way they characterized their QB's condition during the game. As per usual, the Ginger Hammer and the NFL are more interested in the PR battle than in making a material difference.
Steelers DT Alameda Ta'amu was arrested in Pittsburgh after leading police on a drunken car chase during which he struck four parked cars and injured a woman, racking up a slew of charges along the way.
Andy Benoit, Mike Tanier, Matt Bowen, Will Brinson, Peter King, Clark Judge, Don Banks, Mike Silver, Jason Cole, John Clayton, and Alex Marvez recap the day's games, plus Brian Burke's advanced data from Sunday.
Sadly but inevitably, the actions of Junior Seau in the years prior to his death point to a man suffering from long-term brain injuries. According to a lengthy piece from the SDUT, Junior's concentration and short-term memory were severely diminished, he had become impulsive and difficult, and he would at times become verbally and physically abusive with loved ones.
Burke says the notion of setting up a "manageable third down" by running the ball is a bunch of BS.
Skydiver Felix Baumgartner broke the sound barrier in a jump from about 24 miles above Earth. Incredible. (via LBS)