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Coach Gary Kubiak: Peyton Manning will start for Denver Broncos in playoffs

Coach Gary Kubiak: Peyton Manning will start for Denver Broncos in playoffs
Peyton Manning will get the start over Brock Osweiler (17) when the Broncos play an AFC divisional playoff game on Jan. 17. (Rick Osentoski / Associated Press)

Gary Kubiak stuck to his word in naming Peyton Manning his starting quarterback even after declaring that Brock Osweiler had done nothing to deserve a demotion.

"Peyton's our quarterback," Kubiak told reporters Nov. 15, the day that Manning hobbled to the sideline and gave way to his longtime understudy following his fourth interception against the Kansas City Chiefs. "If he's healthy and ready to go, Peyton's our quarterback."

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Manning is healthy and ready to go.

So, he'll be under center for the Denver Broncos (12-4) in the playoffs.

Kubiak called his quarterbacks into his office Thursday, when players returned from a three-day furlough, and informed them of his decision.

"I feel really good about this," Kubiak said. "I feel good about how far Peyton has come, where he's at physically, mentally. I could see it happening throughout the course of the last two weeks. I'm excited for him to get going."

Manning said that his left foot is fine and he's even refreshed after taking nearly two months off.

He also suffered no lingering effects from a textbook helmet-to-chest hit from Damion Square of the San Diego Chargers on Sunday in what the 39-year-old quarterback called his welcome-back-to-football moment.

"I felt good going into the game Sunday, had no issues coming out," Manning said. "And these past couple of days off certainly helped as well."

Peterson ready to go

Adrian Peterson's lower back injury will not keep the Minnesota Vikings running back from playing in Sunday's playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks, Coach Mike Zimmer said..

Peterson had to leave last Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers because of the injury but was able to return late in the game.

He did not practice Wednesday but Zimmer said the NFL's leading rusher was feeling "much, much better."

Etc.

There appeared to be growing optimism among the Packers that injured left tackle David Bakhtiari could be ready for Sunday's wild-card playoff game against the Washington Redskins. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers' blind-side protector sat out the final two games of the regular season because of an ankle injury. Coach Mike McCarthy also said that Bakhtiari's replacement last week at tackle, Josh Sitton, would remain at left guard, where he is a Pro Bowl player. ...Indianapolis Colts Coach Chuck Pagano said that he has hired former Baltimore Ravens assistant Ted Monachino as his new defensive coordinator. Monachino replaces Greg Manusky. ...Embattled Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel was cited for driving with expired license plates last weekend, when he failed to report to the team's facility for a medical assessment and was spotted partying in Las Vegas. It's the latest issue with the 23-year-old Manziel, whose future in Cleveland is uncertain at best after a second consecutive problematic season.

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