Round two begins early Sunday morning – 11 a.m. MST to be specific. Playing at Arrowhead late in the season has never been kind to the Broncos. This season’s game is going to be especially tough as the Chiefs (7-4) seem to have found their game at just the right time. They are also undefeated at home this season. The Arrowhead advantage has clearly been just that. The Broncos’ last win came against the Chiefs at Invesco in a surprising blowout, but don’t expect to see the same thing on Sunday. My Prediction: Chiefs 36 Broncos 21
Broncos - Forget about getting out of the gates fast. The Broncos need to keep their momentum going. The Chiefs struggle defending the pass (ranked 24th in the league), so like in their first meeting, Kyle Orton and Brandon Lloyd will be the team’s bread and butter. Knowshon Moreno has picked his game up over the last few weeks, but the Chiefs are tremendous against the run. They’ve allowed just 60 rushing yards per game over the last two weeks. The most yards that they’ve given up in a game this season ironically came against the Broncos in week 10. Focused too much on the pass? Perhaps. The Chiefs will readjust their defense, so the play calling had better be flexible and creative.
Chiefs- The Chiefs are on fire of late. They’ve got the No.1 rushing game in the league and the passing game is quickly catching up. Matt Cassel has been worth his weight in gold this season, balancing out all of that talent in the backfield. The Chiefs don’t turn the ball over. They have 8 turnovers this season and could certainly break the record low turnover total of 12. Cassel has 22 touchdowns and 4 INTs on the season. To compare a little, Tom Brady has 23 TDs and 4 INTs and Orton has 20 TDs and 9 INTs. The Cassel-Dwayne Bowe connection has grown even stronger. Bowe is 6th in the league in receiving yards, but 1st in touchdowns with 14. The Chiefs are averaging 200 rushing yards per game at home.
Broncos – Brian Dawkins and Andre Goodman will be on the sidelines for this game, and those are two veterans that the Broncos need. Robert Ayers will be returning for his 2nd game back since his injury, so hopefully, he will be able to bring a little bit of a pass rush. The Broncos are ranked 30th in rush defense and 20th in pass defense. Again, ironically, it was the Broncos who held the Chiefs to their lowest rushing total of the season, 51 yards. That’s 123 yards below their average. The Broncos will need to focus just as much on Cassel. Even in the Chiefs loss, Cassel found his rhythm and carried it over to the next two games. Right now, this offense looks like a Rubik’s cube.
Chiefs- The Chiefs have not given up more than 20 points at home all season. That’s a credit to them stopping the run in addition to running the ball well themselves. They’re ranked 7th in rush defense and have explosive linebackers. They’re middle of the pack in terms of sacks, but they seem to get their hands on a lot of balls. They’re ranked 4th in pass deflections and 10th in forced fumbles. Derrick Johnson leads the team in tackles, per the usual, and Tamba Hali has been a sack monster with 8 on the season. The Chiefs did give up 49 points in week 10, but they are giving up 21.0 points per game this season.
Broncos – Demaryius Thomas is out, so look for Eddie Royal and Perrish Cox to handle return duties. It’s about time for the Broncos to break one for a touchdown.
Chiefs- He’s baaack! Dexter McCluster will return to the field this week. The Broncos didn’t see him in week 10, but I’m sure he’s caught their attention this week. He’s a speedster who will break for a big return at any time. They have one of the better kicking tandems in the league.
Broncos – Josh McDaniels has a lot of familiar eyes on him, and they’ll be damned if he burns them again. This is more of a chess game than a football game.
Chiefs- Todd Haley wants revenge. From the game to the post game, Haley was not a happy camper and he’s got to be thrilled that he’s got a second chance to beat the Broncos.
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