Brock Osweiler could be playing for his job tonight.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport said on Monday’s edition of NFL Total Access that Peyton Manning could start the Broncos‘ season finale next Sunday against the Chargers if Denver falls at home to the Bengals.
Rapoport told NFL Network’s Lindsay Rhodes there is “no chance” Manning will start against San Diego next week if Osweiler plays well against the Bengals. However, Rapoport said there is a “very real chance” Manning will start in Week 17 if the Broncos stumble and the veteran is healthy enough to play.
Manning is making significant physical progress. Though the 39-year-old quarterback will never be fully healthy this season, he has gone through four straight throwing sessions without a setback. Manning, who has been sidelined since mid-November with a foot injury, could return to practice as soon as this week.
The Broncos‘ playoff fate is wide open. They can secure the AFC’s top seed if they win out and the Patriots lose to the Dolphins next week. On the flip side, Denver can miss the playoffs entirely if it loses out and the Steelers win next week against the Browns.
If the Broncos lose their third straight game, Manning could become Gary Kubiak’s version of a Hail Mary.