Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who has consistently said his team is not rebuilding, was adamant that the team wasn't giving up on this season to play younger players down the stretch.
"We're going to play to win," Shanahan said. "We're going to play who we think will give us the best chance to win."
The Broncos are already playing a lot of young players, but that's because of injuries. At 5-7 the Broncos aren't mathematically eliminated. They are two games behind San Diego in the AFC West with a game against the Chargers on Dec. 24.
Denver is in trouble with potential tiebreakers because they trail San Diego in the divisional record tiebreaker and in the common opponents tiebreaker, the second and third tiebreakers after head-to-head results.
The Broncos admit they're in a bad spot, but aren't giving up hope that they can win out and get lucky enough to catch San Diego.
"We'll see what we're made of," Shanahan said.
--QB Jay Cutler is coming off one of his worst games of the season. Kansas City, this week's opponent, ranks seventh in pass defense so Cutler won't have an easy matchup this week either. However, he should bounce back and have a solid game this week.
--RB Selvin Young couldn't come back in the game on Sunday because of an upper arm injury. He refuses to discuss the injury and Mike Shanahan declined to give an update Monday. His situation will bear watching during the week.
--RB Andre Hall could be available this week if he continues to recover from a high ankle sprain. Hall could help at tailback and also return kickoffs.
--WR Brandon Marshall has 914 yards and could reach 1,000 this week. He has had a breakout season and should be even more productive next year with more experience.
--WR Javon Walker played more against Oakland but still isn't 100 percent. The Broncos don't know if he'll be at full speed before the end of the season. But Walker has the most upside of the backup receivers so the Broncos will continue to use him as long as his knee is OK.
--WR Brandon Stokley has played in all 12 games this season, and had a season-high 102 yards against Oakland. Without Stokley, the Broncos would have been in trouble after Javon Walker went down. Stokley is on a one-year contract and the Broncos will have to decide whether to make a push for him in the offseason.
--TE Tony Scheffler had one catch against Oakland for 17 yards. Expect him to be a bigger part of the offense this week, especially after the passing offense struggled against the Raiders.
--K Jason Elam is eight-for-eight on field-goal attempts in his last four games. He had a tough start to the season but he has been reliable, as usual. Elam is 20-of-24 for the season.
--DE Elvis Dumervil doesn't have a sack in three straight games. When Dumervil rushes the quarterback well it has a positive effect on the entire Broncos defense, so getting Dumervil going for the final four weeks will be a key.
--LB D.J. Williams traveled to Florida on Monday to attend former college teammate Sean Taylor's funeral. Despite a tough emotional week, Williams led the Broncos with 16 tackles against Oakland.
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