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Five storylines to look for in Broncos-Titans game

8:13 AM, Dec 8, 2013   |    comments
Dec 1, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey (24) celebrates with cornerback Chris Harris (25) late in the game against the Kansas City Chiefs in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Denver won the game 35-28. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
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Five storylines to look at in Sunday's Broncos-Titans game at Invesco Field at Mile High:

BAILEY'S WHEEL: Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, who logged 30 snaps last week in his first game since aggravating a nagging left foot injury in an Oct. 20 loss at Indianapolis, said he realizes he's not going to ever be 100 percent this season. "Yeah, I guarantee that won't happen. I know I won't be. That is something I'll have to live with," he said. Bailey, 35, said he suffered no setbacks this time around, and was a full participant at practice this week. Still, he was downgraded mid-day Friday from probable to questionable. "I'm better. I think it was a good test last week to see where I was," Bailey said. "I'm obviously not where I want to be. It's just trying to be patient with it." Offseason surgery isn't in the offing.

CHILLY PEYTON: Peyton Manning, who spent his first 14 seasons playing his home games inside a dome in Indianapolis, has a 3-7 career record, including playoffs, in games in which the temperature at kickoff was 32 degrees or below. In all other games, he's 170-76. Manning said this week he didn't feel he was a different player in the cold weather. Asked to elaborate, Manning added only, "That's not how I feel, so ... did I miss the question?"

DEFENSIVE DOUBTS: The Broncos may be in the midst of a season for the ages behind Manning's 41 touchdown throws and their 38.6-point scoring average, but they're a disturbing minus-4 in turnover differential and Denver's defense ranks 27th in the league. Veteran Mike Adams has filled in nicely for Rahim Moore, who can return in the playoffs. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been the Broncos' best cornerback with Champ Bailey limited to three games by a nagging foot injury, but Rodgers-Cromartie has missed the last 1½ games with an injured right shoulder.

TOP TITAN: Jurrell Casey is having a breakout season with nine sacks. The Titans defensive tackle had eight tackles with two sacks and a tackle for loss in last week's loss at Indianapolis. He now has 71 tackles, two tackles for loss, nine quarterback pressures and three passes defended. "He's an excellent player," Manning said of Casey. Coach Mike Munchak credits Casey with using his hands really well for leverage. But Casey also has surprising speed for his size (6-foot-1, 305 pounds) that he showed off last week when he ran down Darrius Heyward-Bey for an 11-yard loss on a reverse in the third quarter.

BOSS IS BACK: John Fox will coach the Broncos from the sideline and not the booth upon his return Sunday five weeks after heart surgery. Fox said he wrestled with the pros and cons of both scenarios. Withstanding two days of practice in temperatures around zero degrees this week helped convince Fox and his doctors that he'd be able to handle Sunday's forecast of snow and temperatures in the teens.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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