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NFL Preseason Preview - Seattle (1-0) at Denver (1-0)
By Scott Garbarini, NFL Editor
(Sports Network) - The excitement emanating from Denver's Sports Authority Field for the Broncos' first home game of this 2012 preseason will likely be raised up a notch or two, with Saturday's clash against the Seattle Seahawks featuring a pair of superstar players who have found new homes over the past few months.
Peyton Manning will be playing in front of the home crowd for the first time since the legendary quarterback joined the Broncos as a free agent back in March. And unlike the longtime Indianapolis Colt's anticipated debut in a Denver uniform a week ago, he'll get to showcase his skills for an extended period.
Manning was out for only the initial series of Denver's 31-3 rout of Chicago, the four-time league MVP's first game action in 19 months, but is slated to run the offense for the entire opening half in Saturday's matchup.
The 36-year-old was a bit rusty in his return from multiple neck surgeries that kept him out all of last season, completing 4-of-7 passes for 44 yards and having his only drive end on an interception, but was still encouraged by the overall results.
"I thought there were some good things in there," Manning said. "We had a couple third downs we overcame and spread the ball around. I threw a pass to [Eric] Decker there on the left sideline with really good protection. And I thought Willis [McGahee] had some good runs in there, so some things to build on and things that were positive."
This week's practices weren't as rosy for the Broncos, with a pair of regulars suffering significant injuries in Tuesday's session. Right guard Chris Kuper fractured his forearm and will be sidelined around six weeks, while defensive end Jason Hunter may be lost for the season after tearing his triceps.
Hunter had displaced former first-round pick Robert Ayers as the primary left end with a strong camp. His absence may elevate rookie Derek Wolfe, Denver's second-round choice in April's draft who registered a pair of sacks against the Bears, into the starting lineup.
The defense is also expected to be without cornerback Tracy Porter (abdominal) and safety Quinton Carter (knee), while rookie running back Ronnie Hillman is still dealing with a hamstring strain and will miss a second straight week.
Seattle created some offseason buzz of its own with the recent signing of Terrell Owens, with the controversial wide receiver joining a crowded cast of pass catchers in the Emerald City. Head coach Pete Carroll confirmed on Thursday that the 38-year-old, who didn't play in the NFL last season while recovering from an ACL tear or in last weekend's 27-17 win over Tennessee, would be active for Saturday's test.
While Owens will be ready to go, fellow wideout Sidney Rice will be held out for another week as he makes his way back from shoulder surgery. Slot receiver Doug Baldwin, who was inactive for the opener with a sore hamstring, is slated to play, however.
Carroll also announced during the week that Matt Flynn will start at quarterback for a second consecutive game. The free-agent pickup made a favorable first impression against the Titans, making good on 11-of-13 attempts for 71 yards despite throwing an interception.
Rookie Russell Wilson, Seattle's third-round selection in this past draft, worked the entire second half under center last week and will do so again on Saturday, with incumbent quarterback Tarvaris Jackson appearing to be out of the picture.
Wilson was outstanding when facing Tennessee's reserves, with the former Wisconsin star throwing a 39-yard touchdown pass to veteran receiver Braylon Edwards and showing off his running ability with a 32-yard scoring scramble later on. He finished 12-of-16 for 124 yards with an interception and led the Seahawks with 59 rushing yards on three attempts.
Some other Seattle notables that won't play this week include tight end Zach Miller (concussion) and guard John Moffitt (elbow). Carroll hasn't indicate whether he'll use running back Marshawn Lynch, who was rested in the Tennessee game.
The Broncos have prevailed in eight of the nine all-time preseason meetings between these teams and edged the Seahawks by a 23-20 count in Denver last summer. Seattle's lone win in the set was a 27-13 home decision in 2009.
08/16 16:31:51 ET