Playoffs start today for Broncos

There's no tomorrow for the Denver Broncos if they lose to the Indianapolis Colts today at INVESCO at Mile High. A big question going into the game is how long the Colts will play starters such as quarterback Peyton Manning and running back Edgerrin James. Read the latest on the game in today's news reports.

Playing it safe or keeping it fair - Denver Post - Anthony Cotton
Sunday, January 02, 2005 - Unless you live in St. Louis or Charlotte, N.C., the drama that is the final weekend of the NFL regular season may seem curiously akin to, oh, perhaps the opening weekend of the preseason. To be sure, there are many teams whose postseason fate rides on the outcomes of today's games. The Broncos can clinch a playoff berth with a victory over the Indianapolis Colts at Invesco Field at Mile High; the Buffalo Bills can take a big step in gaining their first playoff berth in four years with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. There also are matchups that may attract the morbidly curious, like those who might brave the New England chill to see if the San Francisco 49ers (2-13) can avoid tying their franchise-low for victories in a season.

Wins make Shanahan's power play - Denver Post - Thomas George
Sunday, January 02, 2005 - Nearly three years ago, soon after Ted Sundquist was named the Broncos general manager, Mike Shanahan reportedly stood in a staff meeting and told Sundquist that absolute power still resided in the head coach's office and not to entertain any ideas otherwise. Shanahan, reached in his office Friday afternoon, passionately denied this. Sundquist said: "I don't ever remember Mike telling me that. I didn't need to be told that." Sundquist said he already knew it. The people in the meeting who insisted it happened said all were stunned at the boldness and intensity of Shanahan's remarks.

Broncos (9-6) vs. Colts (12-3) - Daily Camera
January 2, 2005 - KEY MATCHUP: Jim Sorgi vs. Jake Plummer. There is a very good chance that Peyton Manning will only play a series or two today, which means Plummer needs to lead his side to a victory over a Colts team being quarterbacked by the mortal Sorgi. Let's face it, if the Broncos can't get it done today they don't deserve to go to the playoffs.

Playoffs? Broncos win, they're in - Daily Camera - Ryan Thorburn
January 2, 2005 - A year ago, Rod Smith warned the rest of the league that the Broncos were about to go on one of the greatest runs of all time. Denver's long road to the Super Bowl ended in the first round of the playoffs with a 41-10 loss at Indianapolis. This time Smith and his more humble teammates will settle for a win today against the Colts at Invesco Field and a chance to redeem themselves — likely at the RCA Dome again — with another wild-card berth. After a 37-16 win at Tennessee on Christmas and a loss by Jacksonville a week ago, the Broncos only need need a victory in the final regular season game to make the playoffs as the No. 6 seed, which would mean facing No. 3 Indianapolis next weekend. But Denver could move up to the No. 5 spot with a win and losses by the New York Jets (at St. Louis) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (at Buffalo), which would mean a trip to San Diego to face the AFC West champion Chargers.

Adams: Two statistics work in the Colts' defense - Rocky Mountain News - Sam Adams
January 1, 2005 - The Indianapolis Colts do not have a very good defense. At least, that's what the NFL statistics sheet indicates. The Colts rank 28th out of the NFL's 32 teams in total defense, allowing 365 total yards a game, including 121 a game rushing. So the Denver Broncos, who rank No. 5 in the league in total offense, should be salivating at a chance to play against Indy's "D" on Sunday, right? As inviting as the numbers might seem for Denver, the Colts defense isn't all bad. In fact, the Broncos gladly would take Indy's defensive numbers in two critical areas - sacks and turnovers.

And down the stretch they come - Rocky Mountain News
January 1, 2005 - Some of the biggest games in the final two weeks of the regular season in Denver Broncos history.

Broncos-Colts Capsule and Notes -
Saturday, January 1, 2005 - For the Denver Broncos, the 2004 season comes down to one game. Win on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, and there's not a team that can deny them a playoff berth. Lose, and the players might well be watching the playoffs from their living room couches. Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan thinks that a season on the line is motivation enough for the team to play well on Sunday.

Colts at a Glance - - Tucker Gilmore
Saturday, January 1, 2005 - After sifting through countless formulas and scenarios, the Broncos' fate comes down to a simple statement: Win and you're in. Denver (9-6) has full control of its playoff hopes when it takes on Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts (12-3) this Sunday. With a win, the Broncos will seal a playoff appearance for the second consecutive season. Depending on the outcome of a few other games on Sunday, the Broncos would either have to turn around and travel right back to Indianapolis for the Wild Card game, or head back to San Diego to face AFC West champions San Diego.

Quiet Fury - - James Merilatt
Friday, December 31, 2004 - In the National Football League, surviving as a rookie is a difficult proposition. Life, both on and off the field, becomes infinitely more complicated than it was in college. There's more to juggle. There's more to learn. And there's more to endure. For the overwhelming majority of players, this results in a painful transition period. As they make their way along the NFL learning curve, rookies have to adjust to systems that are light years ahead of what their teams ran in college, seasons that are twice as long (when you include the preseason) as what they are used to and the rigors of dealing with everyday life on their own. Usually, this process is anything but smooth.

Defensing the Irresistible Force - - Andrew Mason
Friday, December 31, 2004 - Variety isn't merely the spice of life. It's also the essential element for survival against Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. To turn defensive calls into repeated patterns is to play into Manning's more-than-capable hands. It is, in effect, a prescription for disaster, considering that he's still managed to find success against the Baltimore Ravens and San Diego Chargers, two teams that came at him with a myriad of disguised coverages and schemes. All Manning did against those two defenses was throw for 632 yards and three touchdowns with just one interception, leading his team to 54 points and a pair of wins in those contests.

Friday Notebook: Approximately '20 Plays' For Pryce Against Colts - - Andrew Mason
Friday, December 31, 2004 - Defensive lineman Trevor Pryce remains questionable for Sunday's game. But for the first time all week, Head Coach Mike Shanahan discussed a specific workload for the eight-year veteran after he concluded work in practice Friday afternoon. "He'll get in the area of 20 plays," Shanahan said. Shanahan added that the possibility of more work for Pryce exists.

Broncology: The Search for a Streak - - Andrew Mason
Friday, December 31, 2004 - In order to make the postseason, the Broncos desperately needed a strong final two weeks to the regular season. Broncos are to complete the task Sunday against the Colts, they must do something they haven't accomplished in 13 years -- win back-to-back games to close the regular season. It was 1991, and the Broncos needed to keep winning in order to hold off the Houston Oilers in order to clinch a bye week in the postseason. They did just that with a 24-19 triumph over the Phoenix Cardinals and a 17-14 win at San Diego, sealing a 12-4 finish that gave the Broncos a weekend respite with which to open the playoffs. Those two wins closed the Broncos' last unbeaten December.

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