Peyton Manning has officially returned to practicing with the Denver Broncos, so now what?

Manning's journey back to his starting role with the Broncos has been a step-by-step process, that still isn't complete.

According to Yahoo Sports, Manning ran the scout team for the Broncos and looked good and healthy.

That's an encouraging sign althought he may not be ready for prime time yet. Coach Gary Kubiak announced that Brock Osweiler will start this weekend against Pittsburgh.

Manning's future is clear yet, and may not until the final two weeks of the regular season, which includes Cincinnati and San Diego.

Let's look at the scenarios, assuming Peyton is healthy enough to play.

Suppose Osweiler plays well this weekend and wins against the Steelers, a team many analysts say are a real threat to go all the way. This would be a huge step forward for Osweiler. It would be difficult to remove him from the starting lineup the following week when the Broncos play another playoff team, the Bengals.

Now, supposing Osweiler does not play especially well and the Broncos lose to Pittsburgh. It makes Kubiak's decision to re-insert Manning as the starter easier and more obvious.

For much of this season, Manning has not looked like the Manning we have all come to know, love, and expect. The exception would be the Green Bay game, where he looked as good as ever.

Is being injured most of the season the reason for his less than stellar performance? Or is it a combination of injuries and father time that robbed this future hall-of-fame of his fastball and the mental capacity? All which have set him apart from practically every quarterback that played in the NFL since his arrival?

Here's what I think will happen, the Broncos lose on the road to the Steelers. Osweiler's second consecutive loss as a Bronco starter. Kubiak immediately declares Manning ready for action and adds him to the starting lineup against the Bengals.

How Manning performs at that point will lead us to the next discussion.

Of course, how Peyton fares will largely depend on the Broncos' offensive line. At times, they looked good, while at others, they appeared to be completely inept.

Manning could perform well and return to his high level of productivity and the stagnant Denver offense is revitalized. Or it's the same struggles we saw early in the season when Peyton was trying to adapt to Kubiak's offense. If it's the latter, then the reality will finally set in that this year's Super Bowl will not be orange.

My money is on Peyton. If he is truly is near 100% health, he remains the best option for the Broncos to advance through the playoffs and return to the Super Bowl. Osweiler might be the guy for the future, but #17's future has not yet arrived.