Top-seeded Broncos looking for second win in less than a month over Ravens
Arguably the NFL’s best offensive and defensive players of the past decade will go head-to-head one last time when the Baltimore Ravens and the Denver Broncos meet in Saturday’s AFC Divisional playoff game at 4:30 p.m. ET on CBS. The Ravens defeated Indianapolis 24-9 in last Sunday’s Wild Card game, allowing linebacker Ray Lewis the chance to celebrate a win in his final home game. All that stands between Lewis and extending his Hall of Fame career by at least one more game are the top-seeded Broncos, who are led by quarterback Peyton Manning.
Broncos playing for seeding, home field in playoffs; Raiders would just like a win
The Denver Broncos aim for their 10th win of the season when they take on the Oakland Raiders tonight at 8:20 p.m. ET on the NFL Network. The Broncos (9-3) have won seven games overall and have already clinched the AFC West division title. The Raiders (3-9) have lost five in a row and would love nothing more than to get a win over the division champs and take some pressure off of first-year head coach Dennis Allen in the process.
A matchup of elite quarterbacks will be the feature tonight at Mile High.
Two of the NFL’s best field generals will meet on Sunday Night Football, when the Denver Broncos host the New Orleans Saints at 8:20 pm EST on NBC. Peyton Manning and the 3-3 Broncos come off a bye week that followed the biggest comeback in Monday Night Football history, a 35-24 victory over the Chargers where Denver trailed 24-0 at halftime.
The AFC playoff rematch will involve Peyton Manning this time.
He’s back. Peyton Manning will return to the NFL gridiron Sunday night at 8:20 p.m. EST on NBC, as the Denver Broncos host the Pittsburgh Steelers in a much-anticipated matchup that could set a regular-season ratings record. The four-time MVP quarterback has recovered from multiple neck surgeries and will try to lead Broncos back to the playoffs, where they ended the Steelers season a year ago.
What can the Denver Broncos do for you this fantasy season? Check out Athlon Sports' team report as we break down the rookies, veteran players to watch and avoid, fantasy playoff schedule and more to help you get ready for the 2012 season.
Inside the Locker Room
with Jim Armstrong, Freelance Writer
• Inside the Locker Room
With Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post
Is there another receiver outside of Brandon Lloyd worth drafting?
Memo to fantasy leaguers considering a Broncos wide receiver not named Brandon Lloyd: Enter at your own risk. In fact, don’t. Don’t run the risk of drafting a Denver receiver before the late rounds. Instead, take an 11th-hour flyer on Eric Decker and hope for the best. One given in the aftermath of John Fox’s hiring is that his wideouts will block in the running game. So Decker, 6'3" and 220 pounds, figures to emerge as a starter. After Decker, Eddie Royal, who has yet to match his big-time production as a rookie in Mike Shanahan’s system, could be worth a late-late-round flyer because of his return ability, and 2010 first-rounder Demaryius Thomas could be a sleeper if he can rebound from a torn Achilles.
What attachment does the new coaching staff have to Tim Tebow?
John Elway, now calling the Broncos’ personnel shots, has been very matter of fact about it: He believes Tim Tebow is a good football player, but isn’t convinced Tebow is, or ever will be, a good quarterback. Tebow, for all his college accomplishments and physical tools, finds himself in a position in which many young quarterbacks often fail. It’s called a new coaching staff, one that will bring a new philosophy and terminology. But while Tebow wasn’t drafted by Elway or Fox, he has one thing going for him — Mike McCoy. McCoy, who worked with Fox in Carolina, was retained from McDaniels’ staff as the offensive coordinator. And let’s face it, it’s not like the Broncos have a lot of other options, what with Kyle Orton expected to be traded in the near future.
Is Knowshon Moreno going to get a shot at being the No. 1 back for the Broncos?
Knowshon Moreno has spent his first two NFL seasons in a gray area between draft-day bust and so-so starter. With a new coaching staff aboard — one that loves to run the football — those various shades of gray figure to turn to black and white. That’s a nice way of saying Moreno needs to earn his keep … or else. Being Josh McDaniels’ first-ever No. 1 draft pick entitled him to a certain status, but that’s ancient history with John Fox calling the shots. Fact is, Moreno, at 210 pounds, give or take, doesn’t profile as Fox’s kind of tailback. There’s no doubt the Broncos will try to get bigger and more durable at the position. Moreno was advertised as a home-run hitter but has only five runs of 20-plus yards in 429 career carries. It’s not time to write him off, but make no mistake, he’ll be on a short leash in training camp. If he can just stay healthy for a change, maybe he can be the player McDaniels envisioned. But there were serious question marks before the new regime arrived, much more so now that Fox and his staff are in place.
• Fantasy Playoff Run — Weeks 14-16: CHI, NE, @BUF
Two of the first three playoff games are at home, and then Broncos owners get to travel to the 32nd-ranked rush defense that resides in Buffalo. Granted, the Bills drafted defense with their first four picks, but they still allowed 15 yards more per game than the 31st-place team (Denver). Knowshon Moreno, Willis McGahee and whoever else is driving the offense should be good title-game matchups.
• Athlon Best Bets
Sleeper: Willis McGahee, RB Deep-Sleeper: Eric Decker, WR Overvalued: Brandon Lloyd, WR Top Rookie: Von Miller, LB Bounce-Back: Elvis Dumervil, DL Top IDP: Elvis Dumervil, DL
• Try to Avoid
John Fox is a run-first head coach, and the tight end was never a staple of his offenses in his nine years in Carolina. The position eclipsed 700 yards only once and never went past six TDs in a season. WAIT UNTIL: NEVER
• Draft Class Fantasy Impact
The transition from Josh McDaniels to John Fox certainly played a role in Denver’s draft. McDaniels accumulated some impressive offensive talent but never found the right pieces on defense. The Broncos used four of their first five picks to improve a woeful defense, including impact players in Von Miller and Rahim Moore. Tight end is a glaring weakness that was addressed by adding Julius Thomas and Green. Both players are capable of starting this season.