The Denver Broncos are betting on quarterback Peyton Manning having one more magical playoff run left after naming him starter for the divisional round of the playoffs.
The 39-year-old will take over the reins from Brock Osweiler, who went 4-2 with Manning sidelined due to foot injury, a decision head coach Gary Kubiak said gives the Broncos the best chance in the playoffs.
"I just do what I think is best for our football team ... I feel really good about this, about how far Peyton has come," said Kubiak in a press conference Thursday.
Kubiak cited Manning's improved health as one of the determining factors in his decision to return the 18-year veteran to the starting lineup.
"I think it's about what I've seen physically (in Peyton) ... It's always been about him physically," Kubiak said.
Kubiak also expressed confidence that Osweiler, who sustained a knee sprain in the season finale vs. the San Diego Chargers, will be ready if needed.
"We think the world of Brock. He's done a hell of a job," said Kubiak.
Manning replaced Osweiler against San Diego - after the young pivot and the offense as a whole struggled with turnovers and inefficiency - and led the team to 20 points and the win.
Kubiak said Manning escaped his first action in nearly two months without incident.
"Other than taking one heck of a shot in the chest, I think he was fine," said Kubiak.
Manning will be starting his first game since Week 10.
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