The losing streak has been snapped, the Broncos look like a football team again, then they play the 3-8 Chiefs this weekend. If that isn’t a “glass half full” kind of outlook, then I don’t know what is. Each game in the NFL, however, can go either way. The Broncos could spill that glass if they don’t show up ready to play. If they come out with the same intensity that they had against the Giants, they could bury the Chiefs in the first half. History will catch up with Josh McDaniels once again as he faces the QB who perhaps secured him his first head coaching job in the NFL. This is the first meeting of the year for the two AFC West rivals, and as usual, the game will be intense. My Prediction: Broncos 31 Chiefs 17
Broncos - Run, run, run. Good things happen when the Broncos run. Knowshon Moreno has been consistently good, and with the help of Correll Buckhalter, they’ve been able to tire opposing defenses. The Chiefs rush defense is terrible, but the sad part about the team is their pass defense is even worse. If the Broncos stay on the positive side of the turnover margin (which shouldn’t be too hard to do), the win is guaranteed. This is a great game for the Broncos to work on converting in the redzone. Last week, they settled for four field goals, which ultimately led to the win, but that won’t work in every game. Converting in the redzone could’ve prevented McD’s outburst on the NFL Network. Not that the Broncos are worried about that, but it goes to show that their redzone struggles are a concern for the young head coach. The Chiefs are known for giving up big pass plays, so if Kyle Orton and Brandon Marshall get their connection going, it could be a long day for Chiefs fans.
Chiefs- The man indirectly involved in Denver’s offseason drama will square up against his former mentor. Matt Cassel’s life was good last year. He led the Pats to an 11-5 record, and he was the talk of the town. I’m sure he soaked it all up until he landed squarely in the the middle of Kansas City’s rebuilding project. Good thing that 6 year, $63 million contract cushioned his fall from grace. The Chiefs are 26th is passing, but Cassel is establishing a great working relationship with new target, Chris Chambers. Chambers has started four games with the Chiefs and already has 17 catches for 319 yards and 3 TDs. A matchup with Champ Bailey could slow him down. The other guy to be concerned about is Dwayne Bowe who leads the team in receiving. The Chiefs released troubled running back, Larry Johnson, leaving Jamaal Charles to pick up the slack. Their running game isn’t much better than their passing game at 22nd in the NFL. Branden Albert is the Chiefs’ almighty left tackle, and should be Matt Cassel’s dry cleaner as well. Cassel has been sacked 35 times, good enough for 2nd most in the league next to Aaron Rodgers.
Broncos - Brian Dawkins is questionable for Sunday due to ankle problems. It would be interesting to see how this defense plays without his leadership abilities and intensity out on the field. Elvis Dumervil should be able to get at least a sack or two against the Chiefs struggling o-line. I suspect the Chiefs will pass a lot since the Broncos will concentrate on Jamaal Charles and his recent success. With Cassel being pressured in the pocket, don’t be surprised to see the young QB throw a ball into the arms of Champ Bailey or Andre Goodman. Cassel tends to lean on his main targets, so getting to him in the pocket will force him into some errant throws. Denver’s defense did a great job against the Giants, creating 3 turnovers and limiting their ground game to just 57 yards. The Broncos did a great job anticipating the play rather than letting the play happen and being forced to close huge gaps. That’s the same thing that needs to happen this week.
Chiefs- The Chiefs and defense? What’s there to talk about? Ranked 27th in rush defense and 30th in pass defense, and with a league low, 14 sacks on the season, the Broncos could easily have their way with the ball. Philip Rivers had his way with their defense last week, and put together a 43 point performance. As I said before, the Chiefs give up some big plays because the coverage isn’t tight in the secondary. Things went down hill for them when Bernard Pollard was released and Jarrad Page was placed on the IR. The Broncos have started throwing longer balls, so look for them to take advantage of the Chiefs in this area. Demorrio Williams is leading the team in tackles, Tamba Hali and Wallace Gilberry are leading the team in sacks (3.5 a piece), and Mike Brown, Brandon Flowers, and Andy Studebaker all have 2 INTs a piece. Attention fantasy owners: Knowshon and Marshall are good options this week.
Broncos - Special teams is doing well as of late. Matt Prater is on his game, and we have two rookies (Darcel McBath and David Burton) leading the team in special teams’ tackles. It’s in the losses that special teams has given up touchdowns or big plays that lead to TDs. Eddie Royal will feel the weight on his shoulders as he tries to return punts from one of the best in the league.
Chiefs- Punter Dustin Colquitt allows the Chiefs to win the field position game quite often. Of his 69 punts this year, 31 have landed inside the 20 and 6 have landed inside the 10. It looks like the Broncos’ offense could have many long fields ahead of them. Ryan Succop, the very last player taken in the ’09 draft, is a solid kicker except when he kicks from beyond 50. Jamaal Charles has returned a kick for a touchdown this year.
Broncos - Josh McDaniels probably won’t be caught cursing his team out, but he knows the Chiefs can’t be taken lightly. They’ve already beaten the Steelers, and they went into overtime against the Cowboys. McD knows Cassel’s weak spots and he knows how to prepare his team. This could be the most lopsided game of the season.
Chiefs- Like McD, Todd Haley is new to his team after seeing success last year as the offensive coordinator for the Super Bowl bound Arizona Cardinals. Unlike McD, however, Haley has experienced a lot of tough times. At 3-8, look for Haley to forego the conservative play calling. He knows being effective on offense requires a fast pace against Denver’s always revolving defensive door.
Topics: Andre Goodman, Andy Studebaker, Bernard Pollard, Branden Albert, Brandon Flowers, Brandon Marshall, Brian Dawkins, Champ Bailey, Chris Chamber, Correll Buckhalter, Darcel Mcbath, David Burton, Demorrio Williams, Denver Broncos, Duston Colquitt, Dwayne Bowe, Eddie Royal, Elvis Dumervil, Jamaal Charles, Jarrad Page, Josh Mcdaniels, Kansas City Chiefs, Knowshon Moreno, Kyle Orton, Larry Johnson, Matt Cassel, Matt Prater, Mike Brown, Philip Rivers, Ryan Succop, Tamba Hali, Todd Haley, Wallace Gilberry