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All signs point to Peyton playing, but what if he doesn’t?

Manning Getty Images

Officially, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is probable for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs with an ankle injury.  Unofficially, it’s hard not to wonder whether something more is going on.

The use of the term “probable” (which connotes a virtual certainty the player will be available for normal duty) and the repeated declarations from interim coach Jack Del Rio that Peyton will play has created the clearest possible message that Manning will start on Sunday night.  But the chatter remains that Manning has a high ankle sprain, and that it’s not getting any better.

Unless and until the Broncos secure the top seed in the AFC, there will be no in-season opportunity to give Peyton a game off to expedite the healing process.  And if Peyton is going to miss a game that counts, the game that makes the most sense to miss would be the one to be played against a defense that could transform the injury from something with which he can play to something with which he can’t play.

That’s why we’ve been keeping a close eye on the Broncos’ website and Twitter page today for a possible downgrade of Peyton from probable to questionable.

So far, he remains probable.

But what if the Broncos decide to seize on that minor sliver of doubt embedded in the term “probable” and shut Peyton down?  It would be a brilliant maneuver, giving the Chiefs no time to prepare for Brock Osweiler.

It would, of course, require the Broncos to explain their decision to insist that Peyton will play but then not actually play him, and the Broncos could be fined by the league.

But who cares about a fine?  It’s a cost of doing business in connection with trying to win a Super Bowl.  The 1997-98 Broncos won two of them despite salary cap violations that eventually resulted in the stripping of draft picks.

But not the stripping of the Lombardi Trophies.

A fine paid to enhance the chances of beating the Chiefs a small price to pay for the pursuit of a championship.  Losing to Kansas City on Sunday night would make winning a championship in 2013 much more difficult.  If Peyton indeed can’t play, springing the truth on the Chiefs as late as possible would help the effort to win.

None of this means Manning won’t play.   Indeed, there are no rumors he won’t play.  All signs point to Manning playing.

But if for some reason Manning couldn’t play, the Broncos will have concocted the best possible con for making the Chiefs think they’ll see Manning and not Osweiler on Sunday night.

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55 Responses to “All signs point to Peyton playing, but what if he doesn’t?”
  1. clarencewhorley says: Nov 16, 2013 7:44 PM

    I’m sure whatever plan they have for Manning can be adjusted for Osweiler who has never started a game behind a suspect offensive line.

  2. caseyanthonymunoz says: Nov 16, 2013 7:49 PM

    Who cares? #1 seed, #5 seed, he’s just gonna choke in the playoffs like he does every year.

  3. yelix says: Nov 16, 2013 7:50 PM

    Osweiler has stone feet and the Broncos suspect o-line is going up against the best pass rush in the NFL. Also, Peyton Manning at 80% is better than Osweiler will ever be at 100%.

    This is a sorta interesting idea, but I don’t buy it one bit.

  4. thebirdofprey2 says: Nov 16, 2013 7:50 PM

    Have the Chiefs played against a starting QB this year?

  5. ern215 says: Nov 16, 2013 7:51 PM

    if peyton goes down, the donkeys season is over

  6. gloryfromheaven says: Nov 16, 2013 7:51 PM

    It’s strange but definitely a possibility, considering they have to face KC again (at KC) in several weeks it may be worth sitting Manning out this game and hope Osweiler pulls through… But, I doubt Manning is gonna be out.

  7. chiroubles says: Nov 16, 2013 7:51 PM

    Methinks you’re overthinking this, Florio. If Manning can play, he will play….

  8. coltzfan166 says: Nov 16, 2013 7:53 PM

    The Chiefs wouldn’t have any time to prepare for Osweiler? He’d be running the same offense Peyton runs.

  9. koolaidcircusbeast says: Nov 16, 2013 7:58 PM

    Uhm, I’m pretty sure all signs point to Peyton’s forehead first…Sheesh…use some logic.

  10. rickyspanish says: Nov 16, 2013 7:59 PM

    The dude had multiple surgeries in his neck and an ankle is going to keep him out? I’m all for hypotheticals but this is an article written just to garner clicks.

  11. jredshoes says: Nov 16, 2013 8:01 PM

    Tony Romo, Blaine Gabbert and pretty much the rest of the quarterbacks you’ve beaten is the answer to the tired starting QB blather for the Enver folks (there’s no D in Denver). The article points out a very interesting observation that I’ve heard talked about a lot today. A high ankle sprain takes weeks for most people to recover so how is Peyton healed in days? Also if a probable player is a game time scratch the team isn’t fined. That’s why it’s called probable, and not 100% guaranteed to start.

  12. bennyb82 says: Nov 16, 2013 8:01 PM

    What exactly would they have to do to prepare for Osweiler? Watch the fourth quarter of a blowout win?

  13. gotmygameon says: Nov 16, 2013 8:01 PM

    thebirdof prey2 says:Have the Chiefs played against a starting QB this year?
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ __ _ _

    Yes they played Tony Romo and baby brother Eli

    My question for you is: Has Payton won a game against any teams with a winning record…..Wait for it….. NO. Only winning team they have played, Colts, beat them.

    Just saying. Team with a winning record on their way to mile high.

  14. powerandair says: Nov 16, 2013 8:04 PM

    Yes the Chiefs have played a starting qb. And destroyed them. Has Manning been in a close game late? Yep and he choked and turned the ball over and lost. Donkey fans need to quit regurgitating the same old dumb stuff and look at reality

  15. eaglefan94 says: Nov 16, 2013 8:06 PM

    Just wait until the Brock Lobster gets in his groove

  16. balfe13 says: Nov 16, 2013 8:07 PM

    That would only make sense if the backup QB played a different style; for example, a running threat. Osweiler’s playing style is that of a homeless man’a Peyton Manning, so your argument makes very little sense.

  17. therealraider says: Nov 16, 2013 8:10 PM

    Peyton Manning is banged up and hes still got 7 more weeks and then the playoffs.. oh ya and it gets pretty cold in Denver in December, unlike his cush career with the Colts. He’ll be broken soon.

  18. apkyletexas says: Nov 16, 2013 8:17 PM

    “All signs point to Peyton playing, but what if he doesn’t?”

    Then that garbage Denver defense will get shredded and the offense won’t have an answer. And the Chiefs will leave with an unblemished record and a 2-game lead.

  19. realfootballfan says: Nov 16, 2013 8:18 PM

    He shouldn’t. The Broncos need to get him healthy for the playoff push because although hosting at Mile High is an advantage on opponents, I’d rather have a 100% healthy Peyton Manning when it counts.

  20. repmochief50 says: Nov 16, 2013 8:26 PM

    PLEASE let him play. As much crap as the Enver fans have given us all week about this being a blowout, don’t give them the excuse “we would have won if Peyton played”!!

  21. steelersaregodsteam says: Nov 16, 2013 8:26 PM

    Manning is the Broncos.

  22. ravenswhat says: Nov 16, 2013 8:27 PM

    Peyton not playing Sunday is a headline grabber. Nothing more.

    Nice try guys. Oh right, it worked.

  23. jlinatl says: Nov 16, 2013 8:27 PM

    If the fine was an issue, they could start Peyton and sit him after a play/series.

    But if they are going to play Osweiler, they would probably have as much luck announcing it and hoping the Chiefs didn’t prep to the same level.

  24. tvguy22 says: Nov 16, 2013 8:34 PM

    You don’t need to add extra intrigue for the game to boost your network’s ratings. Everyone will be watching.

  25. racksie says: Nov 16, 2013 8:34 PM

    Adjusting from the starter to the back up may be a bit of a challenge, but really, how big a difference is it? This is a gamblers issue, not a team match up issue. point spread may be affected, and that is why they would be fined, but competitively it really poses no problems for the Chiefs. In reality, taking the gambling out, it favors the Chiefs.

  26. getyourownname says: Nov 16, 2013 8:44 PM

    rickyspanish says: Nov 16, 2013 7:59 PM
    I’m all for hypotheticals but this is an article written just to garner clicks.
    *****************
    Yes, and very successfully, too.

  27. coachstram says: Nov 16, 2013 8:51 PM

    Interested perspective…..one point I think should be made supporting your theory is if Manning doesnt play tomorrow, thats one more week to heal, and the Broncos will at least have him for 2 of the next 3 ( vs. KC, NE KC ).

    2 of the next 3 is better than 1 or none…..for him to escape the next 3 games un-scathed is a stretch.

    But he’s surprised me before.

    He’s playin.

  28. myasylum11 says: Nov 16, 2013 9:03 PM

    How stupid! You know he’s gonna play! Oh the drama of it all…

  29. dbfan4ever says: Nov 16, 2013 9:08 PM

    Chiefs will lose to either Broncos qb

  30. razorbyrd says: Nov 16, 2013 9:17 PM

    Osweiler’s CAREER passing stats are as follows:

    6 games played, 4-7 for 22 yards, 0 td’s, 0 int’s

    what exactly does a defense need to “prepare” for?!

    40+ hand-offs to Moreno & Ball, that’s what…

    dear Broncos fans,
    pray to whatever God you need to that Manning doesn’t get sidelined

  31. Ferdinand says: Nov 16, 2013 9:19 PM

    It would be so easy to fake an injury to Manning. Just don’t shoot him with the massive painkillers you normally would use before sending him out for warm-up. Very soon he will be limping because he just “aggravated his injury and we just can’t risk further damage so, he’ll be sitting”.

  32. dbronc33 says: Nov 16, 2013 9:22 PM

    ern215 says:
    Nov 16, 2013 7:51 PM
    if peyton goes down, the donkeys season is over

    And if Jamaal Charles goes down?!! The broncos would still have Decker, D. Thomas, J. Thomas, Welker, and Moreno. Any team’s season would be over by losing a star; Brees, Rodgers, Brady, Luck, and yes, Charles. Manning is not as fragile as all of the ‘wishful thinking’ comments being made. By the way, all of the chiefs fans saying there’s no ‘D’ in Denver, need to remember there’s no ‘O’ in Kansas City! The ‘D’ is getting better and how much ‘D’ do you need when you play the chiefs? How many TD’s has the chiefs ‘O’ scored the last 2 weeks?

  33. truthfactory says: Nov 16, 2013 9:23 PM

    Nov 16, 2013 7:44 PM
    I’m sure whatever plan they have for Manning can be adjusted for Osweiler who has never started a game behind a suspect offensive line.
    ——-
    Thats right, Peyton chocked when he went 80 yds and scored a go ahead TD with 50 secs left in the playoff game to make it 35-27. Meanwhile “Mr Clutch” Tom Brady couldnt even put up 20 pts against the same defense the following week and no one says a word.

  34. kcwarpaint says: Nov 16, 2013 9:29 PM

    Should be fun to watch!

  35. kcwarpaint says: Nov 16, 2013 9:30 PM

    Can’t wait!

  36. powerandair says: Nov 16, 2013 9:49 PM

    Manning also threw the game winning TD pass in the Superbowl….to New Orleans. Dont cherry pick one drive and say he is clutch. Sub .500 in the playoffs. KC’s offense is averaging 25 a game. Just 3 points less than Enver

  37. chitown2831 says: Nov 16, 2013 9:50 PM

    Then 8-2 the broncos will be plain and simple

  38. gborange says: Nov 16, 2013 10:17 PM

    The only people that hate Manning are fans of teams he’s been shredding for the last several years. I’m not disputing his playoff record, but no one can argue he is one of the greatest to ever play…….. I am certainly not a Brady or Brees fan, but I can admit that they are also at the top of the list.

  39. vietnambob2473 says: Nov 16, 2013 10:21 PM

    Powerandair

    You should do some fact checking. KC is scoring 25 ppg as a TEAM. The offense accounts for far less than that. The broncos as a team are scoring 41+ ppg, almost all of which are on offense.

    Oh and lets not forget that over the last 3 games the broncos defense has been statistically better than the chiefs defense ( von miller effect)

    I swear, some ofyou guys just spout mindless babble without ever taking a minute to see if what you are saying is even true!

  40. moerawn says: Nov 16, 2013 10:30 PM

    PTSD survivor martin on the sidelines at Stanford

  41. repmochief50 says: Nov 16, 2013 10:31 PM

    Didn’t realize defense/special teams pts didn’t count as much????? Football is still a TEAM sport right?

  42. atleastimnotaraidersfan says: Nov 16, 2013 10:32 PM

    I would just like to add that I’m not one of the denver (there is a little d in denver…) fans that thinks it’s gonna be a blow out. I’m pretty worried actually. Mad respect to Andy Reid and the job he’s done. That being said, go Broncos.

  43. doylemcmuffin says: Nov 16, 2013 10:34 PM

    Uh ……. broncos are averaging 41.2 ppg chiefs fan. And your defense contributes heavily to your sad little 25 ppg. I realize most chiefs fans are inbred, but this is ridiculous.

  44. greggfletch1 says: Nov 16, 2013 10:37 PM

    ONLY team to hold bobblehead and the donks to under 20 is the CHIEFS, with CASSEL and the rest of the drama from last year. This year we have a way better defense we may be getting about the same yardage on offense but the big thing is we dont turn the ball over. All plus for us, and for the donks well they lost Dumerviel, and got Welker who had been pretty much shut out in the last two games. I think this game is pretty much a lock for the CHIEFS.

  45. northstarnic says: Nov 16, 2013 10:43 PM

    Easy enough to go with this strategy and avoid the fine, have Peyton start and limp off after a play or two.

  46. luther6 says: Nov 16, 2013 11:11 PM

    A Jeff Tuel-led offense dominated this Chiefs defense a few weeks ago. I’m sure Peyton — or Brock Osweiler — will be just fine. The Chiefs are all hype.

  47. coachbeck says: Nov 16, 2013 11:29 PM

    No time to prep for osweiler lol. I’m sure they will trade that for manning not playing

  48. wtfchiefs says: Nov 17, 2013 12:10 AM

    Don’t be scared Payton. Suit up, take your whoopin’ and if any if those mean ol’ football players knock you down we can have Rodger fine them.

  49. bigdawg24 says: Nov 17, 2013 12:15 AM

    Chiefs have already beat the Manning who has the most Super Bowl Titles (Eli) this year.

  50. johninthewest says: Nov 17, 2013 12:51 AM

    Geez…… What if…..

  51. apiano74 says: Nov 17, 2013 2:05 AM

    What if Peyton doesn’t play? But, he will most likely play. What a pointless article!

  52. broncos97 says: Nov 17, 2013 2:12 AM

    You chiefs fans act like you have the damn 85 bears defense

  53. beeroncos says: Nov 17, 2013 3:07 AM

    I am sure Joe Montana will save the day chiefs fan.

  54. metrocritical says: Nov 17, 2013 9:37 AM

    Peyton will be motivated to gut it out today. Not just to face a division rival but to keep the Brock Osweiler era from beginning in Denver. He saw what happened in SF last year with Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick and won’t want history repeat.

  55. jjackwagon says: Nov 17, 2013 3:23 PM

    “You chiefs fans act like you have the damn 85 bears defense.”

    Since both led or lead the league in scoring Defense I would say that is a fair comparison. After tonight you will be making the same comparison.

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