ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Broncos QB Peyton Manning has practiced for and played in the last two games with a sticky-feeling, orange-and-gray glove on his throwing hand.
Sure, Manning has earned his fair share of curious glances for donning cold-weather gear when the temperatures are in the 50s, as they were Tuesday at practice.
But in getting ready for the playoff push, which could include two games in sometimes-snowy Denver, Manning is leaving no stone unturned. And the high for Saturday's playoff game against Baltimore is forecast to be 20 degrees.
"I really have not thought about it that analytically, if that's the word," Manning said. "It's a glove."
Of course, if Peyton Manning wears it, it's more than a glove — it's a topic of conversation.
A creature of habit who hasn't worn anything on his hands before this season — including the Colts' Super Bowl XLI victory over the Bears on a rainy night in Miami — Manning conceded the glove is a concession to the altered feel of his grip, especially in the cold, after multiple neck surgeries.
"I certainly don't think I would have had to wear the glove had I not been injured last year," he said. "It's part of my injury, some things that I've had to adjust. I'm in a different body, some things are different for me, so that's the reason for that as much as anything."
Also, Denver's Chris Kuper is expected to return at right guard. He has been in and out of the lineup with injuries. Manning was sacked 21 times this season — but only twice with Kuper in the lineup. And LT Ryan Clady returned to practice after missing last week's workouts with an undisclosed injury.
DEFYING THE ODDS: In the minds of many, the Ravens are considered underdogs to beat Denver on Saturday.
"That's fine," CB Cary Williams said sarcastically. "We appreciate it. We love that."
The top-seeded Broncos are favored by nine points.
"Nobody on the outside dictates how we play on the inside," LB Ray Lewis said. "Nobody controls what our emotions are. I don't read it good or bad because you can't."
Lewis also said he did his trademark dance at the end of Sunday's victory over the Colts to honor "my time and my city," not out of disrespect to Indy.
His response came a day after Colts WR Reggie Wayne told WNDE-AM in Indianapolis that he saw the dance, after the final kneel-down, as "disrespectful." It was Lewis' final home game after 17 seasons in Baltimore.
"Listen, man, it wasn't about them at that time," Lewis said. "That was about capping off a heck of a legacy for 17 years. I guess the trot around the field was disrespectful, too? No. It wasn't even about them."