For the 7-3 Denver Broncos and the 1-9 Kansas City Chiefs, life couldn’t be more different. The Broncos have lofty goals. Securing home field advantage throughout the playoffs in order to play in February is just one of them. The Chiefs, meanwhile, haven’t scored more than 16 points in a game since week four, and they haven’t won a game since week three. No matter where the two teams stand, however, Broncos-Chiefs games always seem to take on some character of their own. The Chiefs own a 56-47 advantage all-time, and won the last meeting in January. The ties run deep with Brady Quinn, Peyton Hillis, and Russ Hochstein suiting up for the Broncos at one time, and even brothers Britton and Dustin Colquitt will be punting against each other once again. Kickoff is set for 11:00 a.m. MDT on CBS.
Broncos: The issue won’t be whether the Broncos can put points up on the board. It will be can Lance Ball, Ronnie Hillman, and Knowshon Moreno carry the load of the running game, and still make the play-action effective. The Chiefs are 25th in stopping the run, so this is the perfect game to test the new lineup change. The Broncos have scored at least 30 points in their last five games, all wins. They’re 2nd in the league in points scored with a 19th ranked rushing game and a 6th ranked passing game. Even though the team is high-scoring, the offense hasn’t done as much as you’d think. It’s been the team’s defense and special teams putting points up too. Drops and fumbles are an ongoing issue that will need to be corrected as the playoffs near.
Chiefs: Matt Cassel has been benched twice this season, so Brady Quinn will take over for this one. Quinn went 9-for-14 for 95 yards in last week’s 28-6 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. If there’s one game where Quinn could go off, it’s this one against the team that wouldn’t give him a shot. The Chiefs are 32nd in scoring and 19th in yards per game (343.4). The main issue for this team has been turnovers. They have 31 on the year which is ranked last in the league. They also can’t score touchdowns in the red zone. They’re ranked dead last in red zone touchdown percentage. Jamaal Charles is 9th in the league in rushing, and he’s putting up 82.1 yards per game.
Broncos: The Chiefs have had only one game this season in which one of their quarterbacks has not thrown an interception. The Broncos’ defense should be drooling over this one. The Broncos are 6th in the NFL in interceptions, and they’re no stranger to forcing a fumble. Tracy Porter has been cleared to play, though Chris Harris will still get the start while Tony Carter will see plenty of action in the nickel and dime. The Broncos lead the league in sacks with 35, and Von Miller is coming off of an AFC defensive player of the week performance. The Chiefs have allowed 10 sacks in four games, so Miller has likely been planning his sack dances this week. This is a defense that improves week after week, and contributes to the scoring output as much as the offense.
Chiefs: The Chiefs are allowing 28.4 points per game which is 28th in the league. They’re not getting to opposing quarterbacks nor are they taking the ball away. Derrick Johnson leads the team in tackles (88), Justin Houston and Tamba Hali have 13 sacks combined, and Stanford Routt and Brandon Flowers each have 2 interceptions on the year. Routt, however, has been released. The Chiefs are 6th in pass defense, but the Broncos have too many receiving threats, which really gives them an edge.
Broncos: Hope you didn’t eat too much gravy this Thanksgiving. Heart attack Trindon Holliday could fill many hospital beds both with his speedy and exciting return skills, or with his bobbling issues. Matt Prater has missed just two field goals on the year so far.
Chiefs: Javier Arenas and Shaun Draughn are handling most of the punt and kick return duties, respectively. Neither has returned one for a touchdown this season. Ryan Succop is 20-for-23 on field goals with a long of 52 yards. Dustin Colquitt is averaging 46.1 yards per punt which is slightly below Britton Colquitt’s 47.4 per punt.
Broncos: John Fox decided to have his team leave for Kansas City Friday afternoon since they’re playing an early game on Sunday. Fox has shown that he has finely tuned his ability to coach and delegate responsibility.
Chiefs: Along with Norv Tuner, Romeo Crennel is just as much on the hot seat even though he’s only been the head coach for just a year. He relieved himself of his duties as defensive coordinator a few weeks ago, but that hasn’t helped the team overall.
Prediction: Broncos – 37 Chiefs- 10