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Denver Broncos: Should Manning and Other Veterans Be Rested Versus the Chiefs?

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 23:  Running back Knowshon Moreno #27 of the Denver Broncos rushes after taking a hand off from quarterback Peyton Manning #18 during a game against the Cleveland Browns at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 23, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Browns 34-12. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images
Scotty McGrawCorrespondent IIIDecember 29, 2012

In a more than winnable game on Sunday, the Denver Broncos will be squaring off against the Kansas City Chiefs. Denver has already clinched the AFC West. As a matter of fact, they took care of that duty several weeks ago.

With a victory this Sunday, the Broncos will be awarded a first-round bye. If they win and the Houston Texans lose to the surging Indianapolis Colts, the Broncos will possess home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. 

Against the 2-13 Chiefs, the Broncos have a crucial decision to make.

Should they rest Peyton Manning and the other veterans?

Since the Broncos will probably have a week-long break after Week 17, they should keep their starters in for the entire game as long as the offensive line holds up. 

By the fourth quarter, the Broncos should look to have an irrevocable lead and then establish a three-down rotation between Knowshon Moreno, Jacob Hester and Ronnie Hillman.

Moreno, the current starter, needs to be healthy and fresh for the playoffs. The newly-signed Hester needs more reps as a Bronco, and Hillman, a scat back, would benefit from more playing experience, especially on third downs. 

All Manning will have to do in the fourth quarter will be hand off to a halfback and throw an occasional screen, play action or dump-off route. 

The rest of the starters should stay on the field because of the week off that follows Week 17. If they are too rested, they may get cold just in time for the divisional round of the playoffs. 

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