Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE
Elway, Manning and more.
The KC Chiefs and Denver Broncos will face off at 12 p.m. (Arrowhead Time) this afternoon. The short way to describe this game is to say that one of the NFL's best teams (Broncos) is facing one of the NFL's worst teams (Chiefs).
The other way to preview the game is by reading out five questions with John Bena of SB Nation's Mile High Report below.
1. Tell me something about the Broncos offense I don't know.
I really believe that the Broncos offense would prefer to be run-first. Yea, that sounds ridiculous when Peyton Manning is the quarterback, but John Fox wants to be a tough, physical football team that perhaps plays a bit on the conservative side. That means run the football. Even without a true feature runner, the Broncos have done a nice job of that - even if the stats say otherwise - allowing the passing game to be that much more effective.
Tell me something about the Broncos defense I don't know.
While Champ Bailey gets all the press - and deservedly so - it is a pair of undrafted free agents that are really getting it done of the Broncos in the secondary. Chris Harris and Tony Carter have each returned interceptions for touchdowns this season and continue to make opposing quarterbacks miserable. Keep an eye on them on Sunday.
Did you ever think Peyton would come to KC at any point in time? We're sad he didn't. You still like him?
Personally I never did. I think what many people lost sight of was the John Elway factor. Who better to understand EXACTLY what it is to be Peyton Manning than someone who was the first overall pick in the draft, someone who had questions surrounding him - at one time - about winning big in the NFL. John Elway knew how to talk to Peyton Manning. He knew to give him space when the Colts first cut him and he could tell Manning exactly how to win as an aging quarterback. I think Manning's comfort level with Elway - and the sounding board Elway could be - was the biggest reason Peyton ended up in Denver.
As for part two of your question? Hell yea! Peyton Manning has brought the forward pass back to the Denver Broncos offense. Denver was very close to entering a vicious cycle of new GM, new coach, new quarterback, spin, repeat. That's the worst place a franchise can find itself. Manning has brought the Broncos back from the brink of insignificance.
How has John Elway changed the Broncos? What has impact been?
Much of the answer to this question lies in the answer to No. 3. For Elway, this is just his latest comeback. He's done it his whole life. What made Elway a great player - and a great executive - is a complete lack of fear. He's not afraid to make a big decision, even if it may be unpopular. Who else could have gotten the Broncos - and the fan base - out from the weight of Tim Tebow. Only Elway would have the stones to do it, and only Elway had the name-equity to complete the move by landing Peyton Manning. If the Broncos weren't going to erect a statue of Elway in front of Sports Authority before, they definitely should now!
What's your prediction for the game? Why?
Broncos 33 - Chiefs 19
In years past, the Broncos would likely make this game a lot closer than it needs to be. They would make crucial mistakes and the specter of playing at Arrowhead Stadium would cause strange things to happen. This team is different. They force the opposition to make those mistakes. Von Miller - who wears No. 58 as homage to Derrick Thomas - is playing like the former Chiefs Hall of Famer and has become unblockable. Even when the Broncos offense bogs down a bit, the defense is taking over games. Add to that one of the best special teams units in the NFL, and the Broncos have suddenly become a complete football team.
The Chiefs seem to be in such disarray that playing at home may not be an advantage. An early turnover or Broncos lead and things could get ugly.