Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Patriots will have to come to Denver, and that’s bad for them

Why the Denver Broncos are Super Bowl favorites
www.nfl.com

No matter what seed the Broncos end up with, I’m comfortable calling them the slight AFC favorites to go to the Super Bowl. It’s simple math, really. The Houston Texans are not playing well, steamrolled in two of their last three games. They should be seen as underdogs to Denver and New England because of quarterback play, among other factors.

That leaves the Broncos and Patriots as the two most likely AFC representatives for the Super Bowl. If New England is going to make it to New Orleans, the Patriots are probably going to have to win in Denver. Advantage Broncos.

Patriots, come out to playaaaaay


¹ Best gang from this movie had to be the The Furies.

Giving John Fox his due

Broncos' John Fox seeks 100th win, endorses Peyton Manning for MVP
www.denverpost.com

What sets Fox’s record apart is he won eight games, including one in the playoffs, with Tim Tebow at quarterback during the 2011 season. He’s won 12 more so far this year with Manning at quarterback.

“I’ve had a great staff, great players,” Fox said. “A lot goes into that. It’s not one guy. They put it on your record or tombstone or whatever, but I just happened to be head coach during that. But there’s a lot of efforts and I appreciate all those efforts. We’re just worried about this week. We’ve got a good team coming in.”

We've had our share of debates about John Fox's decisions on fourth downs, to be sure.  We'll save that argument for another day.

Leave little doubt that John Fox's management style generates respect from players, coaches, and, well, just about everyone around the league.  He lets his players play and his coaches coach.  And he does it without a lot of arrogance, ego, or PowerPoint presentations.  In the time of cholera Bill Belichick,  there's something to be said for that.

Broncos make lifestyle changes, reverse third-down ranking

Dominating Defense Fuels Win Streak
www.denverbroncos.com

The team’s highest statistical jump since the beginning of the win streak has been in third-down conversions. During the first five games of the season, opponents were successful on 46.7 percent of their third-down attempts, which ranked 29th out of the 32 NFL teams. Since then, that number has plummeted to 20.9, which is best in the league—6.3 percentage points ahead of the second-place San Francisco 49ers.

Lower your salt intake, increase your servings of fruits and veggies, add a little Wesley Woodyard, Chris Harris, and Tony Carter, and watch what happens to your defense's third-down percentage.

Will this year be Jay Cutler’s greatest collapse?

Apocalypse Now: Chicago Bears and the NFL’s Greatest Second-Half Collapses
www.coldhardfootballfacts.com

The Bears are now on the verge of missing the playoffs after a 7-1 start, which has rarely happened since the 16-game season began in 1978. A total of 61 teams started exactly 7-1 from 1978 to 2011, and 58 of them made the playoffs.

Chicago (8-6) must win out on the road against Arizona (5-9) and Detroit (4-10), and even then will need some help to make the playoffs.

We all remember 2008, so there's no need to rehash beyond threegameleadthreegameslefttoplaybuhbye. And of course, this can't all be Jay's fault, as he's playing behind an absolutely atrocious offensive line, as per usual.

But Cutler hasn't been so good himself - his QB rating is four points below his career figure, and he's thrown more TD passes than picks in only six games this season. To compare him to a totally random NFL QB - how about Peyton Manning - PMFM has a rating 8.6 points higher than his pre-2012 career, and has tossed more scores than interceptions in 12 of his 14 games.

Manning, Miller, and Bailey all tops in fan voting

Peyton Manning tops fan voting
espn.go.com

Manning, who has 31 touchdown passes and has thrown for 4,016 yards this season, topped the fan balloting with 993,045 votes cast on NFL.com.

Before we get too carried away, remember that this is only 1/3 of the vote.  The players and coaches still have their turn.  Manning leads everyone, while Bailey and Miller are tops at their respective positions.

It's hard to imagine, though, the outcome changing for these three Broncos.

Tebow yuks going mainstream

Tebow's time in New York nears end
www.usatoday.com

It surely can’t end soon enough, because this season — Tebow has attempted all of eight passes — has done nothing to convince his detractors he can throw the ball well enough to be an NFL quarterback.

A high-ranking NFL personnel evaluator, who spoke on condition of anonymity to share his scouting report, said: “(Tebow) attempts to play quarterback despite poor footwork, throwing platforms, release, timing, efficiency, progression, reads, anticipation, arm strength, accuracy and any other position-specific category you can think of.

“God bless him for trying,” the personnel man said, “but I wouldn’t touch him and would pass on the Jacksonville (Jaguars) job if it forced me to take him.”

Interesting to see everyone coming out of their zombie shelters now that Rex Ryan (stupidly) made it safe and the risk of infection is so much lower.  

Weenies.  Where were these guys yuking it up last year when we were fighting off the bath salts crowd with only our keyboard and Bill F-ing Murray?

The good news for these cats?  We've stockpiled tetanus shots.

Clady: Manning makes me look good

Ryan Clady Says Peyton Manning Has Made Him a Better Player
sportsradiointerviews.com

How different it is blocking for Peyton Manning as opposed to Tim Tebow:

“One of the differences is pretty obvious. Peyton Manning just gets rid of the ball a little faster. That definitely helps out the offensive line. Also with Peyton you know the spot he is going to be in for the most part. With Tebow it was kind of up in the air as to where he was going to be.”

On the improved running game:

“Yeah, no question. It’s something our coaches have been harping on. Something they have been harping on and the past couple of weeks it’s something that all good playoff teams need to have is a good running game so I think we have done that and we need to continue to run the ball well.”

Whether he feels like Peyton Manning has made him a better player:

“I feel like he has. His ability to play the quarterback position always helps out the offensive line. When he was in Indy he never really had any big name offensive linemen but he made them look good which is a good thing and that’s what good quarterbacks do.”

Does this mean Clady is cool if the Broncos slap the franchise tag on him at the end of the season?

Arian Foster may run for a living, but he doesn’t walk anywhere

Arian Foster gifts Segways to line
espn.go.com

The star running back gifted each of his offensive linemen with a Segway personal transporter on Wednesday.

Foster said the Texans’ offensive linemen were always getting on his case about him riding his Segway.

“I feel like all of them big hogs up front can enjoy the joy that I get from riding my Segway,” Foster said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “Guys like Chris Myers and (Duane) Brown and Wade Smith, they’re always getting on me about riding my Segway. ‘You can’t walk? You’re too good to walk?’

If the Broncos play the Texans in the playoffs, please, someone, anyone, tamper with Foster's Segway so his legs get tired and he feels no joy.  

Kenny McKinley: all too human

Where did it all go wrong?
espn.go.com

In September 2010, there was a notice from the water company taped to the door of McKinley’s house in Aurora, Colo., and rent that was past due. He had a court date to increase his child support payments. On crutches, with reality suffocating him, he got on a plane to South Carolina. He went to the clubs and walked the same streets he used to walk with Murdock and Thomas. He went to the Gamecocks’ Sept. 11 home game against Georgia. When his face appeared on the big screen, the crowd erupted in a standing ovation. McKinley soaked it in and waved. He was still the biggest star at Williams-Brice Stadium.

He stayed with Terrence Campbell, an offensive lineman for the Gamecocks at the time, and Campbell asked him to hang around in Columbia longer. It would be like old times. McKinley said he had to go. He told Campbell to get to work and focus on his season.

McKinley went back home to Georgia for a few days, watched his old high school team play a football game, then flew to Denver on Sept. 19. He paid his back rent, post-dated a check for October and chatted with his landlord’s 11-year-old son, a Broncos fan. McKinley went out that night, then slept in.

Sometime in the early-afternoon hours of Monday, Sept. 20, 2010, he pulled a sheet over himself, put a semiautomatic .45-caliber handgun to his head and squeezed the trigger. He was dead when police arrived at his house on Caley Place. The shades were drawn; the TV was on with the volume down low. McKinley died with the NFL Network on.

If you've got the time, we highly recommend you check out this story on the late Broncos WR Kenny McKinley and his pact with two college friends to make it in the NFL.  It also gives a few more details about McKinley's relationshp with former Broncos QB Tom Brandstater, who emptied his bank account to help McKinley with his growing expenses.  Finally, it paints a picture of a young man who struggled with the need for friendship, the desire for success, and the setbacks of life--in other words, with being human.

John Fox: the Browns are a lot more awesomer than you think, people

Not Judging Browns by Record
www.denverbroncos.com

“They’re 3-0 versus our division,” Head Coach John Fox said. “They’ve won three out of four of their last games. Really, that was a close game last week against Washington. They’ve got good players. I’ve said all year long, we don’t look at team’s records, we look at the tape and they’re very capable.”

Although I may not be the biggest John Fox supporter when it comes to strategy, I do love the dude's ability to keep a straight face while telling everyone to fear the Cleveland Browns.

After all, they've beaten the Chiefs, the Raiders, and the Chargers (by one point).

Stop laughing.  Fear Cleveland.