Broncos boast firepower, confident Peyton Manning

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 18, 2014 at 11:21 am •  Published: January 18, 2014
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DENVER (AP) — Maybe it's because the forecast calls for the mercury to push toward 60 degrees Sunday, when plenty of fans will be tempted to get in a quick nine holes before heading down to the stadium to fire up the grill.

Or maybe it's because the Denver Broncos, with so many sidelined superstars, have weathered everything thrown at them in the eventful year since that wrenching loss to the Ravens in last January's playoffs.

More likely, Peyton Manning just looked over New England's defense and realized that unless the Broncos beat themselves with fumbles, stumbles and tumbles, the highest-scoring team in NFL history should put up plenty of points on the Patriots.

Whatever the explanation, Manning was as carefree in the week leading up to Sunday's showdown with nemesis Tom Brady as he's been in the two years since he traded the blue and white horseshoe on his helmet for the orange-mane mustang.

And even though they'll be without shutdown cornerback Chris Harris Jr., as long as they play assignment-sound football the Broncos (14-3) know they should be able to mix it up enough to keep Brady and LeGarrette Blount, coming off a four-TD game against Indianapolis, in check to claim the AFC championship.

Manning, who's thrown for 97 TD passes while going 27-7 with the Broncos, was so loose that the news conferences he normally treats like a dip in the cold tub were more like open mic nights at the comedy club.

On Wednesday, he pretended to shed a bit of light on his new favorite city, the name of which he shouted out 44 times from the line of scrimmage during Denver's playoff win over San Diego last weekend.

"I've had a lot of people ask me what 'Omaha' means," Manning said. "It's a run play, but it could be a pass play, or a play-action pass, depending on a couple of things. The wind, which way we're going, the quarter and the jerseys we're wearing. It varies from play to play."

With the AFC title game looming and the number of reporters quadrupling for his weekly session with the media, No. 18 was at his deadpan best.

Manning didn't even have to cap his pressers with an "I'll be here all week, try the veal!" because Elway's, that swank restaurant owned by, yes, his boss, John Elway, catered lunch. So, it was more like, try the carved tenderloin and the Loch Duart Scottish Salmon.

These are certainly heady times in the Mile High City. After all, the Broncos scored a record 606 points this season and they're favored Sunday for the 29th straight game.