Dec 8, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker (83) is hurt on the field during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
KUSA - The Denver Broncos got to hang out at home a little longer Wednesday morning to play their new toys, but the team still had to show up for work and an afternoon practice.
Hey, there's still the AFC's top seed to protect.
The Broncos' usual Wednesday morning practice was moved to the afternoon, and coach John Fox gave the team an added surprise.
"Coach Fox gave us a nice gift with full pads," quarterback Peyton Manning joked. "I guess that was our present. I thought guys responded really well."
Manning, who has been taking off the Wednesday drills, did practice Wednesday afternoon. Manning needs just 266 yards to set the NFL single-season passing record and can add to his NFL-record 51 touchdown passes.
"It's always a challenge for all teams - Thanksgiving, Christmas," Manning said. "There's a fine balance between having a good practice, managing the schedule, adjustments. I think we have the right kind of guys to do it. But you can't just talk about it, you gotta do it. And it really doesn't really get reflected until game day."
More importantly, Wednesday marked the return of wide receiver Wes Welker (concussion), end Derek Wolfe (illness) and cornerback Kayvon Webster (thumb). Their addition was an added bonus.
Welker has missed two games since sustaining his second concussion this season Dec. 8 against Tennessee. Wolfe, whose illness has not been described by the team, has missed four games since becoming sick on the team bus Nov. 29 heading to the airport. Webster broke his thumb against San Diego on Dec. 12 and had to have surgery.
The Broncos (12-3) play Sunday at Oakland and can secure the AFC's top seed in the playoffs with a win. Should Denver lose, then New England can take the top spot with a win against Buffalo. Both games are Sunday afternoon.
Regardless, Denver already has won the AFC West title and secured a first-round bye. The Broncos' first playoff game will be either Jan. 11 or 12 at Sports Authority Field. The AFC championship game is Jan. 19.
The Raiders announced earlier this week they will start Terrelle Pryor at quarterback in the season finale so they can evaluate him more going into the offseason. He injured his knee in early November and was replaced by rookie Matt McGloin, who has started the past six games and is 1-5 (including a five-game losing streak).
In the Raiders' 37-21 loss at Denver on Sept. 23, Pryor was 19-of-28 passing for 281 yards and a touchdown but rushed for just 36 yards on four carries.
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