Peyton Manning's exile to the sideline will continue for at least one more week after Denver Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak announced Brock Osweiler will start Sunday night against the New England Patriots, per Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald.
Kubiak also revealed Manning is having a second opinion on his left foot to determine the extent of the injury that kept him out of the Broncos' 17-15 Week 11 win over the Chicago Bears, per the team's Twitter account.
"[Manning is] doing everything he can possibly do to get himself healthy and get himself back on the field," Kubiak said, per the Broncos, adding that "rumors or anything said that [Manning's] mindset is anywhere else other than helping the team" are incorrect.
NFL Media's James Palmer (via NFL.com's Dan Hanzus) had reported earlier on NFL Network's TNF Gameday that Manning did little to help Osweiler with his pregame preparations.
According to NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano, Kubiak remained noncommittal about whether Manning would get his starting job back should he be healthy enough to play again this season.
At this point, Osweiler is the better option for the Broncos. He finished Sunday a respectable 20-of-27 through the air for 250 yards and two touchdowns. ESPN Stats & Info put Osweiler's performance in perspective with what Manning has done:
"It was encouraging for a first start in this league," said Kubiak of his starting QB, per the Broncos. "He's got to feel good about the first step."
Should Osweiler lead the Broncos to victory over the Patriots, the chances of Manning starting again dwindle even further.
Following the clash vs. New England, Denver will take on AFC West foes in San Diego and Oakland before matchups against Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. The Broncos close out the regular season slate against the Chargers, and a strong showing from Osweiler down the stretch would also strengthen Denver's case for being a serious Super Bowl contender.