Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, right, passes against the San Diego Chargers during the second half in an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, right, passes against the San Diego Chargers during the second half in an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Quarterback controversy swirls in Denver while New England are shaky before NFL play-offs



To the surprise of few, it is the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots as the top two seeds in the AFC, but neither team is inspiring much confidence going into the NFL play-offs. Luckily for them, they will each get a week off to shape up.

Denver are in an especially weird place for a No 1 seed. The Broncos have a championship-calibre defence to be sure, but questions remain at the position that used to be their biggest strength – quarterback.

Brock Osweiller had been doing a decent job starting for an ineffective, broken-down Peyton Manning since November. But on Sunday, with Osweiller struggling and the Broncos down to the lowly San Diego Chargers, coach Gary Kubiak turned to Manning in hopes of sparking a comeback.

It worked, though Manning did little more than hand the ball off and call audibles.

So who starts when the Broncos take the field next?

Probably Manning, but he nor Osweiller have the look of a Super Bowl winner right now, even though the narrative is already how Manning came to the rescue from the bench.

Rare is the NFL team with a quarterback controversy sitting atop a conference’s play-off seeding, but that is the situation Kubiak has put his team in.

While the gamble worked Sunday, he has only opened his team up for more questions should they falter.

Read more: Peyton Manning says Al Jazeera are 'making stuff up' in doping report

As for the Patriots, they have picked a bad time to start playing their worst football of the season.

The once-powerful offence has scored only 30 combined points in two straight losses to end the season, and they have had so many injuries that they had to turn to the mummified remains of Steven Jackson at running back. And there is no Derrelle Revis this season to save them on defence.

Even though the names at the top are familiar, the AFC looks like a wide-open race.

Beware of the Chiefs

The Broncos needed the win, because a loss would have instead given the AFC West title to the hottest team in the league.

The Kansas City Chiefs have won 10 straight after a 1-5 start to become the team no one wants to face in the AFC. Drawing that short straw is a team that barely deserves to be here, the Houston Texans.

Kansas City have not won a play-off game since 1993, but there is some magic in the air in KC these days, with the cross-town Royals having won the World Series a few months ago. Maybe some of that luck will rub off on the Chiefs.

Seattle surging

Remember when the Seattle Seahawks looked doomed to miss the play-offs? Me neither.

The two-time NFC champions have looked down-right dominant in winning six of their last seven, including a Week 17 beat-down of NFC West champion Arizona. All of a sudden, Russell Westbrook and the Seahawks look like a solid shout to make a third straight Super Bowl.

Coaching casualties

Along with the mid-season firings by the Dolphins, Titans and Eagles, the Browns and 49ers wasted little time adding their teams to the list of those looking for a new coach following disappointing seasons.

And there are sure to be even more openings soon, as the Colts, Giants and Chargers are among other teams rumoured or likely to make changes.

Feeling the draft

And finally, a hearty congratulations to the Tennessee Titans, who at 3-13 were bad enough to clinch the No 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. At least they will not be looking for a quarterback, as rookie Marcus Mariota showed some promise in an otherwise dreadful season in Nashville.

NFL play-off seeds and schedule (in UAE time)

AFC

1. Denver Broncos (12-4, West champs) Next Bye; Jan 18 v low seed

2. New England Patriots (12-4 East champs) Next Bye; Jan 17 v high seed

3. Cincinnati Bengals (12-4 North champs) Next v Pitt, Jan 10, 4.15am

4. Houston Texans (9-7 South champs) Next v KC, Jan 10, 1.35am

5. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5 Wild card) Next at Houston, Jan 10, 1.35am

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6 Wild card) Next at Cincinnati, Jan 10, 4.15am

NFC

1. Carolina Panthers (15-1, South champs) Next Bye; Jan 17 v low seed

2. Arizona Cardinals (13-3, West champs) Next Bye; Jan 17 v high seed

3. Minnesota Vikings (11-5, North champs) Next v Seattle, Jan 10, 10.5 pm

4. Washington (9-7, East champs) Next v GB, Jan 11, 1.40 am

5. Green Bay Packers (11-5, Wild card) Next at Washington, Jan 11, 1.40 am

6. Seattle Seahawks (10-5, Wild card) Next at Minnesota, Jan 10 10.05 pm

kjeffers@thenational.ae

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Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home. 

How tumultuous protests grew
  • A fuel tax protest by French drivers appealed to wider anti-government sentiment
  • Unlike previous French demonstrations there was no trade union or organised movement involved 
  • Demonstrators responded to online petitions and flooded squares to block traffic
  • At its height there were almost 300,000 on the streets in support
  • Named after the high visibility jackets that drivers must keep in cars 
  • Clashes soon turned violent as thousands fought with police at cordons
  • An estimated two dozen people lost eyes and many others were admitted to hospital 

Guns N’ Roses’s last gig before Abu Dhabi was in Hong Kong on November 21. We were there – and here’s what they played, and in what order. You were warned.

  • It’s So Easy
  • Mr Brownstone
  • Chinese Democracy
  • Welcome to the Jungle
  • Double Talkin’ Jive
  • Better
  • Estranged
  • Live and Let Die (Wings cover)
  • Slither (Velvet Revolver cover)
  • Rocket Queen
  • You Could Be Mine
  • Shadow of Your Love
  • Attitude (Misfits cover)
  • Civil War
  • Coma
  • Love Theme from The Godfather (movie cover)
  • Sweet Child O’ Mine
  • Wichita Lineman (Jimmy Webb cover)
  • Wish You Were Here (instrumental Pink Floyd cover)
  • November Rain
  • Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden cover)
  • Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door (Bob Dylan cover)
  • Nightrain

Encore:

  • Patience
  • Don’t Cry
  • The Seeker (The Who cover)
  • Paradise City
Indika

Developer: 11 Bit Studios
Publisher: Odd Meter
Console: PlayStation 5, PC and Xbox series X/S
Rating: 4/5

The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya

Directors: Amit Joshi and Aradhana Sah

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Kriti Sanon, Dharmendra, Dimple Kapadia, Rakesh Bedi

Rating: 4/5

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

THE SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder

Transmission: Constant Variable (CVT)

Power: 141bhp 

Torque: 250Nm 

Price: Dh64,500

On sale: Now

Tributes from the UAE's personal finance community

• Sebastien Aguilar, who heads SimplyFI.org, a non-profit community where people learn to invest Bogleheads’ style

“It is thanks to Jack Bogle’s work that this community exists and thanks to his work that many investors now get the full benefits of long term, buy and hold stock market investing.

Compared to the industry, investing using the common sense approach of a Boglehead saves a lot in costs and guarantees higher returns than the average actively managed fund over the long term. 

From a personal perspective, learning how to invest using Bogle’s approach was a turning point in my life. I quickly realised there was no point chasing returns and paying expensive advisers or platforms. Once money is taken care off, you can work on what truly matters, such as family, relationships or other projects. I owe Jack Bogle for that.”

• Sam Instone, director of financial advisory firm AES International

"Thought to have saved investors over a trillion dollars, Jack Bogle’s ideas truly changed the way the world invests. Shaped by his own personal experiences, his philosophy and basic rules for investors challenged the status quo of a self-interested global industry and eventually prevailed.  Loathed by many big companies and commission-driven salespeople, he has transformed the way well-informed investors and professional advisers make decisions."

• Demos Kyprianou, a board member of SimplyFI.org

"Jack Bogle for me was a rebel, a revolutionary who changed the industry and gave the little guy like me, a chance. He was also a mentor who inspired me to take the leap and take control of my own finances."

• Steve Cronin, founder of DeadSimpleSaving.com

"Obsessed with reducing fees, Jack Bogle structured Vanguard to be owned by its clients – that way the priority would be fee minimisation for clients rather than profit maximisation for the company.

His real gift to us has been the ability to invest in the stock market (buy and hold for the long term) rather than be forced to speculate (try to make profits in the shorter term) or even worse have others speculate on our behalf.

Bogle has given countless investors the ability to get on with their life while growing their wealth in the background as fast as possible. The Financial Independence movement would barely exist without this."

• Zach Holz, who blogs about financial independence at The Happiest Teacher

"Jack Bogle was one of the greatest forces for wealth democratisation the world has ever seen.  He allowed people a way to be free from the parasitical "financial advisers" whose only real concern are the fat fees they get from selling you over-complicated "products" that have caused millions of people all around the world real harm.”

• Tuan Phan, a board member of SimplyFI.org

"In an industry that’s synonymous with greed, Jack Bogle was a lone wolf, swimming against the tide. When others were incentivised to enrich themselves, he stood by the ‘fiduciary’ standard – something that is badly needed in the financial industry of the UAE."

RoboCop: Rogue City

Developer: Teyon
Publisher: Nacon
Console: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S and PC
Rating: 3/5


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