Both the Jets (8-3) and Broncos (6-5) enter Sunday’s showdown at the Meadowlands in first place of their respective divisions, but each team is moving in a contrasting direction. While the Jets enter Sunday bursting with confidence after road victories over the rival Patriots (7-4) and undefeated Titans (10-1), the Broncos are staggering after a 31-10 loss to the lowly Raiders (3-8).
To add injury to insult, the Broncos sit brusied and battered. Rookie wide receiver Eddie Royal (58 rec., 673 yards, four touchdowns) who has paired with Brandon Marshall to form one of the league’s most explosive receiving duos, did not practice today due to a toe injury. Royal’s absence would be a significant blow to an offense that prides itself on its air attack with one of the game’s rising stars at quarterback, Jay Cutler. The Broncos rank third in the NFL in total offense (382.5 yards/game) and passing (273 yards/game).
The Broncos struggling defense may receive some help this week, as both linebacker DJ Williams and cornerback Champ Bailey returned to limited work in practice. The Broncos’ defense has allowed a staggering 27.5 points per game (28th in NFL) this season.
Limited Participation in Practice: WR Laveranues Coles (thigh), LB David Harris (groin), K Mike Nugent (right thigh), S Eric Smith (head)
Full Participation: WR Jerricho Cotchery (shoulder), DE Shaun Ellis (back), TE Bubba Franks (hip), CB Dwight Lowery (thigh), WR Brad Smith (shoulder), LB Jason Trusnik (knee)
*Harris has been out of the Jets’ previous four games due to a groin injury suffered in the Oct. 26 win over the Chiefs, but his possible return would be a welcomed site for the Jets’ stout defense. Ten-year veteran David Bowens (25 tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles) has been impressive filling in at inside linebacker, but Harris gives the Jets more althleticism on defense.
Did Not Participate in Practice: S Marlon McCree (ankle), WR Eddie Royal (toe)
Limited Participation: CB Champ Bailey (groin), LB Nate Webster (knee), LB DJ Williams (knee), RB Selvin Young (groin)
Full Participation: G Ben Hamilton (wrist), RB Peyton Hillis (shoulder), WR Brandon Marshall (hip), DT Kenny Patterson (Achillies), RB PJ Pope (ribs), DT Dwayne Robertson (knees), DT Josh Shaw (shoulder), DT Marcus Thomas (hamstring)
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