Team Efficiency Rankings: Week 14
The offensive fluctuations are a bit opponent-dependent, as the Bengals have had just two positive EPA performances against defenses in the top-half of efficiency. Of course, the Broncos themselves are only the 19th-ranked defense, and one with somewhat tenuous depth. Cincinnati would stand little chance in even a three-game series, but they might be the team most likely to catch fire and pull off a stunning upset, a la the 2012 Ravens.
Denver remains #3 in overall efficiency, and is #22 (tie) in avoiding penalties. On offense, they remain #1 overall and in passing, are #4 (tie) at interception avoidance, #3 (tie) running the ball, and (all the way) up to #28 (tie) in fumble avoidance, after two straight weeks of fumble-free football.
On defense, they're #19 overall: #20 against the pass, #3 (tie) versus the run, and #10 (tie) at intercepting passes.
Quick Hits from Coach Fox
Wesley Woodyard is a great player for us and he’s done a tremendous job. Wesley Woodyard’s fine. He’s going to play a lot of football for us moving forward. It really doesn’t have much to do with that. It that the other guys have earned opportunities and the more guys that you can call on, the better it is for your football time…He had a type of injury that can affect you and the more hits you take on it the less it is. It’s not so much just about that, it’s part of it but basically the situation is giving other guys opportunities that we feel like have earned them.
How do you say someone has been demoted without really saying he's been demoted? You say everything you can but the actual words.
Wes Welker suffers concussion
However, even if Welker were to be cleared for activity this week with that exam, the protocol would preclude him from playing in Thursday night’s game against the San Diego Chargers.
Following Sunday’s game, Broncos coach John Fox called Welker’s concussion “our only significant injury.”
With Welker having suffered two concussions in only four weeks' time, our highest hope should probaby be that he returns in time for the playoffs.
There’s more: Silver reported that running back Chris Johnson and his massive $8 million 2014 salary won’t be back, while NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport was told that Tennessee—very much intrigued by free-agent-to-be Jay Cutler—isn’t expected to pick up the hefty $13 million fifth-year option attached to quarterback Jake Locker.
Really, how much better than a minus-3 point differential and 5-7 record was Munchak supposed to have managed, especially with the improving Locker lost for the season?
Owner-QB link disillusioned coach
Disillusioned with the way Snyder was running the organization, Shanahan cleaned out his office in advance of January’s wild-card playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks and expected to leave the team whenever the season ended, according to a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The source said Shanahan had grown tired of the way Snyder empowered Griffin and openly esteemed him above all other players.
While we can't blame him for wanting out from under Dan Snyder, isn't it convenient that this news emerges as it seems Shanny might lose his job?
But the idea that he would ditch a playoff team is about as believable as the belated claim that he would have cut Brandon Marshall following Marshall's first Pro Bowl season.
Manning drove the ball down the field against the Chiefs last Sunday. His arm looked live. Manning has re-invented himself the past couple years with the Broncos, but against the Chiefs it looked like he was back in his Colts’ days. This was a different looking Broncos offense than most games this season.
And yet, all anyone wants to talk about is the weather?
IAOFM answers Total Titans' questions about the Broncos
Beyond something like “get lucky on fumbles and batted balls,” a Titans win probably requires them to exploit specific ways in which the Broncos are vulnerable, including things they’ll stick to even if they’re not working. What are those?
Head on over to Total Titans for Ted's responses to Tom's questions, plus more great Titans coverage. Then, check back here shortly after for Tom's responses to Ted's questions. As always, many thanks to Tom and Ted for putting this all together.
Report: Gary Kubiak expected to be fired today
Peter King of Sports Illustrated says he expects Texans coach Gary Kubiak to be fired today, after his team endured an 11th straight loss last night in Jacksonville.
Houston's fall has been quick, and severe. It's quite something to go from supposed SB contenders to possibly picking first overall in the draft.
What are the chances Kubes ends up back working with Shanny, assuming the tan one doesn't also get canned?
Team Efficiency Rankings: Week 13
The New England Patriots are increasingly resembling the good-offense-bad-defense teams of recent seasons…At this point, they may just be a poor man’s Denver, which is a problem considering they’ll likely have to face the real Denver.
Denver remains at #3 in overall efficiency; another flag-filled game (10 for 75 yards and four first downs vs. KC) has them at #23 (tie) in penalty avoidance.
On offense, they're again #1 overall: #1 in passing, #7 (tie) at avoiding picks, #5 (tie) running, and dead last in fumbling, even with Sunday's clean performance.
Defensively, they're down to #19 (allowing KC 452 yards didn't help): #20 against the pass, #13 (tie) at intercepting the ball, and #3 (tie) versus the run.
Seahawks can clinch playoffs tonight, more teams can clinch Sunday
In the AFC, the Broncos will clinch a playoff berth if they beat the Titans on Sunday. Even if the Broncos lose to the Titans on Sunday, they’ll clinch at least a wild card if the Dolphins lose to the Steelers.
Yes, they're aiming for much bigger things than a Wild Card spot, but clinching a postseason berth in Week 14 would still be pretty great.