First let me say that this article is my opinion, please feel free to bash it or agree with it. If you don't, I will quit coming to AP (heh I wrote that as if anyone cared).
Let's start with the most important part of this game, Chiefs O vs Broncos D. I think many will agree with this, but not for the same reason as me. Most would agree, because they think the Chiefs need to score 30 points to win, but actually it comes down to....
This Chiefs will score some points I'm guessing around mid 20s, but the key is not giving Manning the short field. The Chiefs must take care of the ball. The Broncos are going to move the ball some, it's Manning, just the way it is, but if the Chiefs limit his quick score opportunities, KC will have a very good chance at winning this game.
The next thing....
Lots of this ^^^^^^ Running the ball. now, on the Chief side they are fairly consistent. They run bad most of the game and then turn it on in the 4th. That cannot be the way this Sunday. The Chiefs must get the run game going early and again limit Mannings opportunities for quick strikes. The Broncos on the other hand are kind of confusing, they allow the 4th lowest rushing yards per game, but are below average in rushing TDs and number of rushes over 20 yards. This is because teams are always playing catchup and are throwing instead of running, but when teams run they do fairly well. The Broncos allow an average of 87 rsuh yards per game, but have allowed over 110 in 3 straight games (all games people would consider their "closer" games). I also think this Oline is getting better, even if the stats don't show it. They have played good enough against some pretty good front 7s the last few games. I believe it will show up against an average front 7 aside from Von Miller, and give just enough for the run game to be somewhat successful in the first half.
As for the passing game, I would mostly just reiterate my turnover section. Smith needs to be smart with the ball and just play his game. Take what the defense gives you and win the field position battle.
Speaking of the field position battle, how about special teams? Man that Dave Toub is awesome isn't he? I expect more than one big play by special teams this week, unfortunately if the Chiefs aren't careful, not all of them will be in their favor. Trindon Holliday is a very good returner 32 average on kicks with 13 going for 20+ and 3 for 40 or more. You counteract that with kicks through the back of the endzone and with the best punter in the game. Dusty, whether stats show it or not, is the best punter in the NFL today. He is a game changer (or saver sometimes), but Colquitt will need one of the best games he's had for this game to be in the Chiefs favor, but in the thin Denver air, I think he'll do it.
Now.....on to the fun part....
THE UNSTOPPABLE FORCE MEETS THE IMMOVABLE OBJECT
Over the last few weeks it seems the Broncos offense has been exposed a little. It seems that if you man up and get physical with their WRs, while getting pressure on Manning without blitzing more than few times, you can cause them some headaches. Hmmm that sounds very familiar, OH CRAP!!!!! That's exactly what the Chiefs do, and they're the best in the league at it, way better at it than Indy, Washington, or San Diego. The Chiefs are much deeper at CB and have much better pass rusher than anyone of those teams, and no one outside KC has a Dontari Poe.
This pass rush is going to feast upon Manning. Many teams have slowed the Chiefs down in recent weeks, but many of those teams had advantages the Broncos will not....
1. The backups that no one had game film on. Andy Reid has always been known as a gameplan coach, he can make in game adjustments, but seems to be much better prepared before the game (hence his 13-1 record after the bye) Having not only game film this Sunday, but a whole extra week, should swing this way back into the Chiefs favor. Then again facing Manning kind of swings it back doesn't it? Well on to number 2 then.
2. Julius Thomas, man that guy can catch and run, BUT he can't block. Past few weeks I've seen a lot of extra protection from the opposing teams, with extra TEs and RBs. Leaving Julius Thomas in to help against Hali and Houston does not bode well for Denver. I have Julius on my fantasy team so I watch him as much as I can, and he really isn't a great blocker, he's been getting better, but still against KCs elite pass rushers, he will have a long day.
3. Mobility. I've watch play after play be made against this Chiefs D, because the QB extends the play, but Manning is anything but a mobile QB. He's quite the opposite really, but that's not even what I'm talking about. Manning is immobile AND has a bad wheel, maybe 2. Manning was in enough pain to get an MRI, meaning enough pain to think that it could be serious! Also meaning he will not be near 100% on Sunday. If I was Sutton I would be bringing heat early and often. I wouldn't be looking for big plays, just need to hit Manning a few times. Usually I'd say blitz Manning enough and he'll eventually beat you, but a bad ankle changes things. They need to get after him and test that ankle. DISCLAIMER I never root for someone to get hurt, but it's part of the game and you take whatever advantage you can get within the rules. If I were the Broncos, I'd consider sitting Manning. Not that they would do it on purpose, but Hali or Houston may seriously ruin the Broncos season with one good pass rush move.
Number 5 was edited in, I forgot it. Injuries. This Broncos Oline is beaten and battered. They are down an elite starting left tackle, and 2-3 interior linemen. I know they are still NFL players, but backups are usually backups for good reason. I'll take Hali against a backup anyday of the week, and Poe against backups TWICE on Sunday!
Last but not least...the bye week. I already talked about Reids advantage here, but the resting of this team will do wonders. The Chiefs were hanging tough the last few games, a few extra days of physical and mental rest will be just what the doctor order.
So in summary....no turnovers, run the ball well, win field position, be physical on D, pressure and hit the QB. Well the Chiefs have been doing that ALL YEAR!!!!!!
Chiefs 23 Broncos 20