Greetings from INVESCO Field at Mile High, where the Broncos will host their AFC West rival, the Chiefs, in a few short hours.
First and foremost, Happy New Year to you and your entire family.
Today’s contest marks the 99th meeting between the two clubs, and the Broncos have won their last eight games against the Chiefs in Denver.
There are 10 possible scenarios that could play out today for the Broncos to clinch their 18th playoff berth in franchise history and first postseason appearance since 2005. To view all of those scenarios, click here.
Currently there are partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the mid-30s. Temperatures are expected to stay in the high-30s for this afternoon’s game. Here is a full weather report for the 2:15 MST game:
And here is a traffic report for those of you getting ready to head to the stadium:
12:08 p.m. MST: A few Broncos have made their way onto the field to loosen up for today’s contest. Offensive linemen Brandon Gorin, Tyler Polumbus and Seth Olsen are all stretching on the field. Matt Prater is also out of the tunnel — getting set to take a few field goal attempts.
12:13 p.m. MST: Today’s starting quarterbacks — Kyle Orton and Matt Cassel — just met near midfield to shake hands. Brandon Lloyd is also out on the field — dressed in full uniform, including his helmet. It looks as if the Broncos will be wearing white pants with their blue jerseys.
12:18 p.m. MST: Lloyd and Matthew Willis are positioned at the 45-yard line fielding punts. Now, Jabar Gaffney and Alphonso Smith are returning punts as well.
12:28 p.m. MST: A handful of defensive players are warming up. Ronald Fields is positioned in the back of the end zone, using a green band to stretch out his legs. Kenny Peterson is nearby Fields, stretching out his hamstrings.
12:38 p.m. MST: Only two Broncos remain on the field. Fields is still stretching in the end zone. Meanwhile, Wesley Woodyard is loosening up while listening to some music.
12:44 p.m. MST: Mitch Berger is the second Bronco to make his way onto the field wearing the team’s blue jersey. He is taking punts from around the 38-yard line.
12:51 p.m. MST: Berger and Kansas City long snapper Thomas Gafford just shared a chat around midfield.
1:00 p.m. MST: Currently, D.J. Williams is the only Bronco out on the field stretching. For the Chiefs, kicker Ryan Succop is working with punter/holder Dustin Colquitt and Gafford on field goal attempts.
1:03 p.m. MST: Just got word of the Broncos Inactives for today’s game. They are: Britton Colquitt, Tom Brandstater, Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal, Tony Carter, LaMont Jordan, Chris Baker and Tony Scheffler. Brandstater is listed as the team’s third QB.
1:12 p.m. MST: Prater, Berger and Lonie Paxton are out on the field in full uniform working on field goals. Prater just connected on two straight long attempts. First he drilled a 55-yarder, then it looked as if he connected on a 65-yard attempt.
1:18 p.m. MST: Just received a few pregame photos courtesy of Gray Caldwell:
1:21 p.m. MST: The quarterbacks just made their way out of the tunnel. Kyle Orton is warming up his arm, throwing approximately 20-yard passes to offensive assistant Ben McDaniels.
1:24 p.m. MST: A number of Denver special teams players are out on the field — including Spencer Larsen, Peyton Hillis, Richard Quinn, Lloyd and Smith. The Chiefs just made their way onto the field as a team. After a brief huddle nearly the 20-yard line, the club has broken into its pregame stretching routine.
1:27 p.m. MST: A handful of position players, including Brandon Stokley, Daniel Graham, Brian Dawkins and Champ Bailey, just made their way out of the tunnel to loud cheers from the INVESCO Field at Mile High crowd.
1:32 p.m. MST: The Broncos just held their team pregame huddle near the tunnel, and just broke into their pregame stretch routine with Strength and Conditioning Coach Rich Tuten.
1:35 p.m. MST: As usual, Dawkins is pumping up his teammates as the team makes its way through its warmup session.
1:38 p.m. MST: With the club finished with pregame stretches, a number of units have broken off into sections to work on technique. The defensive backs are snagging interceptions, while defensive linemen are working on getting off the line of scrimmage quickly on snap counts.
1:41 p.m. MST: With Head Coach Josh McDaniels looking on, linebackers are working on snatching interceptions and wideouts and tight ends are running downfield to notch receptions from Orton and Chris Simms.
1:45 p.m. MST: Daniel Graham was just getting the offensive united pumped up. Now the offense and defense are going through 11-on-11 plays at the line of scrimmage.
1:48 p.m. MST: With kickoff less than a half hour away, the Broncos are heading back into the locker room to ready for the Chiefs.
1:52 p.m. MST: A lot of wild finishes occurring to early games with playoff implications. The Patriots and Texans are tied up at 27-27 with two minutes to go in Houston (the Texans are in New England territory). Meanwhile, the Steelers lead the Dolphins by three, 27-24, midway through the fourth quarter in Miami.
2:02 p.m. MST: Here come the Thunderstorm paratroopers onto the field — as we monitor the end of the New England/Houston game here in the press box.
2:08 p.m. MST: The Broncos have made their way out of the tunnel for pregame introductions, as the crowd is giving the club a standing ovation.
2:09 p.m. MST: Thanks for following along with the Week 17 pregame blog. Head over to the first-half live blog to follow the Broncos’ divisional rematch with Kansas City.
– Zach Eisendrath, DenverBroncos.com