There are people who say we’ve seen the last of Peyton Manning, that No. 18 will never play another down in the NFL – and that even if he does, he’ll be borderline useless.

Bart Scott believes none of this.

“Listen, I never doubt a champion,” the NFL on CBS analyst said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I think him being hurt, (and with Brock) Osweiler playing, I think the team will win. I think Gary Kubiak will take over and it’s going to be strictly Gary Kubiak. I think Osweiler is going to look like Joe Flacco last year. They’re going to run all those stretches and stretches and play-actions off that because he has a young, spry quarterback. But then Peyton Manning is going to be able to rest up and he’s going to get just enough energy to finish and show what type of champion he is. This is the best thing for them because not only is the foot going to heal, but the rest of the body is going be refreshed. He’s going to be doing rehab, he’s going to be sitting in cold tubs, he’s going to be getting that big forehead rubbed. I love Peyton Manning, man.”

Interesting. So, in a way, Manning’s absence may actually be the best-case scenario – both for him and the Broncos.

“This is the best-case scenario,” Scott clarified. “I give him five weeks and I let him come back for the final two games, kind of get tuned up, get some game experience, but I’ll keep him on a short leash. I’ll put him in during the last couple games and I’ll let Osweiler finish it off.”

The Broncos (7-2) have a comfortable three-game lead over the Chiefs (4-5) and Raiders (4-5) in the AFC West. The division race is all but over. Denver, however, is one game behind Cincinnati (8-1) in the race for a first-round bye.

You would think a bye would be important for Manning and the Broncos. Not necessarily.

“Nobody cares about the bye,” Scott said. “That means absolutely nothing. It might be better for him to go on the road somewhere else. Home-field advantage don’t mean nothing. That’s the best-case scenario – him taking five weeks off and getting refreshed and he can start the season like he started.”

Or even how he looked after the bye. With an extra week of rest, Manning threw for a season-high 340 yards in a 29-10 win over the Packers on Nov. 1.

“When he came back off the bye, he looked great,” Scott said. “He was taking shots down the field, his arm looked strong. So let’s go back and rehab and act like we’re coming back . . . (for) a three-game season.”


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