up on the ongoing story
. ... As ESPN.com's Jeff Legwold
notes, the Broncos liked what they saw of quarterback Peyton Manning
over the past two days of practice, so much so they, as expected, formally listed Manning as probable for Sunday night’s matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs.
But interim head coach Jack Del Rio said following Friday’s practice he would go one better than that.
“They don’t have a definite category on there, or I would check it off," Del Rio said. "He’s ready to go, and as a team we’re ready to go."
Manning had missed Wednesday’s practice because of a right ankle injury, but has said through the week he planned to start Sunday. He practiced without any issues both Thursday and Friday.
As Profootballtalk.com notes, Manning was already struggling with ankle injuries before Sunday’s game against the Chargers, and he hobbled off the field at the end of the game after San Diego defensive lineman Corey Liuget hit him in the ankle.
Liuget was not fined for that hit, which won’t make Manning or Del Rio happy, considering that Manning appeared to be complaining to the officials afterward, and Del Rio said he wanted the league office to review the hit.
But while Manning may not be 100 percent as he tries to avoid Justin Houston, Tamba Hali and Dontari Poe on Sunday, he will be out there.
And no defense has allowed fewer points and amassed more sacks than Kansas City's.
Of course, no offense has scored more points, thrown for more yards than Denver's, and no offense in the AFC has allowed fewer sacks.
Thus, protecting Manning is priority No. 1 for the Broncos, and getting to him is the same for the Chiefs, who have racked up their prodigious totals against teams that average 18.8 among the 32 NFL teams, with none in the top quarter of the league rankings.
According to the Sports Xchange, Denver might have to veer away from its three-wide receiver set and use an extra tight end to try and contain the Chiefs' speed off the edges. The Broncos have steadily worked two-tight end packages into their scheme throughout the season, but might use more of it tomorrow than ever before.