If any team needed a week off to prepare for the playoffs, I would say the Denver Broncos needed it the most.
With the AFC‘s No. 1 seed in the playoffs, the Broncos, along with the New England Patriots, received a first round bye and an automatic advance to the Divisional Round. This is excellent news for the Broncos, because they have players that are hurt that need the extra week. As a matter of fact, this could be a blessing for them.
During practice on Thursday, the only player that did not practice with the team was standout defensive end Derek Wolfe, who appears to still be recovering from an illness that has sidelined him since December. It is unclear as to why he still has not gone full speed, but hopefully he is back on the field soon. Perhaps not playing until next Sunday will finally give him the recovery time he needs.
With Wolfe being the only player not practicing, that shows a clear sign that Wes Welker is back, as he was cleared the Monday after the Broncos’ regular season finale win over the Oakland Raiders to resume practicing and contact drills. This bye can also give players like Peyton Manning, who could still have an ankle issue to recover and be at 100 percent for Jan. 12.
Having a first round bye can help a team a lot with the injury issue. This Broncos team can be really dangerous when completely healthy on both sides of the football. It’s a shame that Von Miller and Ryan Clady will not be able to help the team out, as both players are on Injured Reserve, but this is a team that has held their own despite not having the top players starting every single game.
Thanks to the extra bye week, this Broncos team should come out stronger than ever, no matter who is on the opposite side of the ball come divisional weekend.