Happy Friday, Broncos fans! Chris Benson previews Sunday's matchup in Oakland for PFF, and he writes that it's something of a must-win for both teams, as the loser will surely be faced with big questions about its QB in the aftermath. Will Denver stick with Tim Tebow if he doesn't show progress? Did the Raiders overpay for Carson Palmer? Benson also speculates that a loss for Denver could mean a shakeup in the starting lineup, and it's a fair point.
Benson says Oakland's fans likely won't be long on patience for their new QB given the ransom they gave up to acquire him, although he figures Palmer should do well against a pass defense that has struggled for almost the whole season. Unfortunately, Sunday has the potential to be another brutal day for Orlando Franklin, whose assignment will be to fend off yet another top pass rusher - this time LB Kamerion Wimbley, whom he was not able to contain in the opener (six hurries).
Finally, Benson theorizes that the reason for Tebow's success as a starter last year and apparent regression this season is partly a matter of opposing teams having a better idea of how to game plan him - playing him less like a passing threat and focusing more upon keeping him in the pocket. So, can the Broncos manage to run the ball efficiently if they're facing 8 or 9 men in the box? Will Tebow be able to make some throws against man coverage and soften up the Oakland defense? If not, it will be another long Sunday...
Mike Klis farms the locker room for opinions from the young Broncos on the top QB prospects they've played with and against in college.
John Elway and Brian Xanders were at Cal scouting prospects yesterday.
Legwold checks in on some guy named Brady Quinn. Who?
As Deadspin details, the takeover of ESPN's comments section is still ongoing. Yes, it's still funny, and no - it's definitely no longer about Tebow.
It looks pretty certain that Darren McFadden will not be playing, while there's a chance LB Rolando McClain will be available for the Raiders. The status of Sebastian Janikowski is murky, and Oakland would surely re-sign Dave Rayner today or tomorrow were SeaBass unable to go.
The Raiders don't figure that having Michael Bush step in for McFadden will be that huge a dropoff.
Voluminous notes from Steve Corkran.
Vittorio Tafur on Tebow from Oakland's perspective.
Peyton Manning still says he hopes to play sometime this season.
Jason Cole says the looming sale of the Dodgers could hasten a return of the NFL to Lala Land.
Some hope arrived yesterday for a stadium bill in Minnesota, one funded by a possible increase in the state's gambling taxes.
Rex Ryan will play the part of a Patriots fan in a future Adam Sandler movie.
Here's a great article from Ben Shpigel on Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and his wedding ring, which he wears during games.
Bill Barnwell reviews the first half of the season for the AFC teams and says things are only going to get worse for us Broncos fans.
Bucky Brooks shares his X-factor players for the week, plus he says Romeo Crennel deserves credit for the defensive turnaround in KC, while Jeffri Chadiha celebrates the success of Niners QB Alex Smith.
Andy Benoit breaks down Eagles/Bears, Pats/Giants and Chargers/Packers.
Don Banks dishes out midseason awards and wonders if Tebow can issue a restraining order on NFL fans everywhere; plus, he calls Von Miller the first half DROY.
John Clayton previews the week and says Tebow has been sacked more times against the blitz than he's completed passes.
Drew Magary previews the week's games and points out the hypocrisy of ESPN deleting the X > Tebow comments but not blatantly racist ones elsewhere.
Scott Kacsmar looks at historical QB data to see which passers have typically been first-half players who struggle as each year goes on.
Ben Muth analyzes the Saints' loss to the Rams through the prism of their O-line struggles against St. Louis.
Chase Stuart revisits the much-debated question of whether Lynn Swann should be a HOFer.
Unfortunately for all of us, Nickleback is scheduled to perform at halftime of the Lions' Thanksgiving Day game against Green Bay. Thankfully, there's a petition to at least try to rectify that problem.
KSK's weekly Sex/FF mailbag.