The Daily Lard 12-31-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Chris Benson previews tomorrow's game for PFF, and he's expecting the Broncos to utilize a more conventional rushing attack since KC will presumably will be better prepared for the read option than they were last time. On defense, Benson figures that although Von Miller's struggles since he injured his thumb have been well chronicled, he should impact the game matching up against Barry Richardson - the worst right tackle in the game according to PFF's grading.

For PFF's latest Scramble column, Benson writes that the turning point for Denver's season may have been Chris Harris' interception of Carson Palmer and subsequent 60-yard touchdown run by Willis McGahee. It was a remarkable sequence of events, one that should not be underestimated. I think people look back at the 38-24 final score and recall the game as a thumping by Denver, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. The first half was all Oakland, and the Broncos running game didn't really dominate until that McGahee run to end the third quarter. Denver was 2-5 at that point, and here we are eight weeks later and they've got a chance to win the division tomorrow. Incredible.


Injury notes from Andrew Mason and Tom Kensler, plus team notes from Kensler: Brian Dawkins is listed as doubtful after missing practice again. Chris Harris, David Bruton and Von Miller are all probable.

Mike McCoy has been telling Tim Tebow to play with confidence, even when things aren't going his way.

Jeff Legwold again revisits the final game disappointments for Denver in recent years.

Video of John Fox speaking yesterday, plus practice notes from Kenny Legan; From NFLN, the Playbook crew previews the game, Willie McGinest and Mike Klis talk Tebow.

AFC West

Kyle Orton is among a group of players suing a Chicago law firm for advising them that an investment would provide tax relief.

KC signed K Ryan Succop to a five-year extension; RB Jackie Battle is out, S Jon McGraw is doubtful, while WR Jeremy Horne is probable.

The Chiefs have struggled in the red zone without and with Kyle Orton.

Injury notes from Oakland and San Diego: WR Jacoby Ford is expected to play for the Raiders, while the Chargers should have WR Vincent Jackson and RB Mike Tolbert.


Colt McCoy's season is done, and he hasn't played since his controversial concussion.

Brian Burke lists the top AFC and NFC defenders in terms of WPA, which of course includes Von Miller. Elvis Dumervil and Andre' Goodman get honorable mentions.

Meanwhile, J.J. Cooper updates quick sacks and naturally, Von is among the leaders, although none of his sacks came against Pro Bowlers.

Mike Silver figures the Broncos will pull out a close victory tomorrow, and he's penned an Orton revenge song.

Peter King and Clark Judge preview the week's games; Bucky Brooks shares his X-factor players, including Demaryius Thomas.

Bill Simmons is taking the Broncos among his weekly picks, because he just can't see Kyle Orton winning a revenge game. Makes sense. However, he's rooting for the Raiders to win the West but has the Palmer trade details wrong - Oakland has to make the AFC title game this year or next for the second draft pick they send Cincy to become a first-rounder. Plus, Simmons is figuring Jon Gruden for the Chargers gig.

Greg Gabriel explains how players are chosen for invitation to the national combine in Indy.

The week's finest quotes as gathered by Rivers McCown.

Drew Magary previews the week's games, plus some more Drunken Hookup Failures (I'd never heard of upper-decking before).

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

The Lard