SANTA ROSA, CALIF. " Better run down to the store, Broncos fans, and get some chips, dips and cold beverages.
It's almost Tebow Time.
According to an NFL source, Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow is likely to start Sunday against the Oakland Raiders in the infamous Black Hole.
A final decision won't be made until Kyle Orton, the Broncos' starter through the first 13 games, tests his sore ribs in pregame warmups. The Broncos are currently en route to the Bay Area and Orton is on the trip.
However, the Broncos obviously don't believe Orton will be healthy enough to play after he missed the entire week of practices with the rib injury he suffered last week during a 43-13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
Tebow's first start is much anticipated. A Heisman Trophy winner and two-time national champion at the University of Florida, Tebow was a Broncos' first-round draft choice, No. 25 overall, in the April draft.
He has played sparingly this season in specifically designed "Tebow Packages," rushing for two touchdowns and throwing for one score on his only pass attempt.
There was an expectation that Tebow would start at least one of the final two games " at home Dec. 26 against Houston and again at home vs. San Diego on Jan. 2.
Orton's injury, however, is likely to accelerate Tebow Time.