Jamaal Charles is vitally important to the Chiefs' chances on Sunday. He will be required to not only pick up first downs between the tackles and help control the clock, but also serve as a dual-threat back that can make plays in the passing game. He has over 1,000 all-purpose yards this season, and represents the one player Kansas City has with the ability to change the outcome on offense.
Steve Young Wants To See Chiefs Quarterback Alex Smith Crank It Up from The Los Angeles Times
"What Andy's asked Alex to do, Alex has done really well," said Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, another former San Francisco 49ers quarterback. "The real question I have, what I'd really love to see - and maybe what Alex would love to see - is, if you started calling more expansive plays and having a lot more fun, would [Smith] answer the call?
"In San Francisco, he started to spread his wings. I don't know if Alex or we have seen the best of Alex Smith, and it's been pretty dang good. ... It would be fun to see if they just let it rip and let him throw it 45 times a game."
Charles In Charge For Kansas City Chiefs Attack from The National
The Chiefs are perfect after nine games with a most imperfect offence, ranked 24th in the league.
All of that makes running back Jamaal Charles the most valuable player to this team - and perhaps the most essential player, non-quarterback division, to any team.
KCChiefs.com Video: Coach's Corner: Andy Reid
KCChiefs.com Video: Team Travel: Week 11
KCChiefs.com Video: Chiefs Kingdom: Arrowhead Art Program
KCChiefs.com Video: How We Got Here: Week 9
NPR Audio: The NFL Game Of The Season - Available around 11am Arrowhead Time
Denver Broncos' Super Season Tied To Peyton Manning Staying On Field from The Denver Post
In these moments, it matters little that the Broncos are about to square off against the 9-0 Kansas City Chiefs, the immovable defense standing between them and the top of the AFC West. In these moments, the Broncos' world is much narrower: an ankle, a pair of gray, team-issued sweat pants, a leg - not a limp, thankfully. The world is Peyton Manning's as he steps onto the box from which he addresses the media each Wednesday, and reporters obsess about his gait as he trudges away when he's done talking.
The big picture doesn't matter, not now. It's only Manning.
Rush To Judgement In Dwayne Bowe Drugs Arrest Misguided from The National
Sure, the Kansas City Chiefs could have suspended wide receiver Dwayne Bowe against the Denver Broncos on Sunday after his arrest last weekend for speeding and marijuana possession.
That would have quieted the critics who accuse the league and its teams of professing one thing and doing another with regards to discipline.
Some perspective is required here.
Chiefs, Beware: Broncos' Knowshon Moreno Back In Business from The Denver Post
"First rule, stick them with the pointy end."
George R. R. Martin
In the game of thrones between the Broncos and the Chiefs, Knowshon Rockwell Moreno is the tip of the sword.
The Broncos' rusher-receiver-blocker will be the difference.
True To Their Teams, Even In Marriage from The Springfield News-Leader
Born in Kansas City, Jackie grew up a few blocks from the Chiefs' home field. More than 20 years ago, she moved to Springfield and married a die-hard Broncos fan.
She had a choice. Become a Denver fan, like her Colorado-native husband, or keep on swimming in the Sea of Red.
She went with the latter.
"It was an easy decision," she said.
Broncos' Game Plan Against The Kansas City Chiefs from The Denver Post
The Chiefs have a good special-teams unit - it grades out on Pro Football Focus at 10th-best in the NFL - but the Broncos still have the best unit, and by a large margin. Even if kick returner Trindon Holliday is fumble-prone, which he showed last weekend, he's still such a threat that opponents must compensate for his presence. Even with those high grades, it would be nice to see Denver's special-teams unit pull off a scoring play for the first time in a few weeks. If the Broncos ever will need one, it's against the Chiefs. Edge: Broncos
Kansas City Man Swaps Football Tickets For Wedding Rings from ABC News
When a Kansas City woman offered up her diamond wedding band set for sale in exchange for football tickets, one longtime Chiefs fan jumped at the chance.
Rusty Jones, 49, and his girlfriend had started talking about engagement rings for about a month when he saw a Kansas City Star article about a woman advertising her wedding ring from a previous marriage in exchange for tickets to the Chiefs-Denver Broncos game.
Berghaus' NFL Picks: Chiefs Will Fall In Denver from The Asheville Citizen-Times
Kansas City has had its share of luck, winning many of its games against teams that were forced to use backup quarterbacks.
But teams don't win nine straight on luck alone. The Chiefs' defense is giving up the fewest points (12.3 points per game), and the most an opponent has scored against them this season is 17.
Conversely, the Broncos are averaging a league-best 41.2 points a game, thanks to quarterback Peyton Manning, who has 33 touchdown passes. Kansas City is scoring 23 points a game and will need that many to have a chance against the Broncos.
Kansas City Enjoying Turn-Around Season from The Allentown Morning Call
The Chiefs, who play at 8-1 Denver tonight, have seen both ends of that spectrum in less than a year. They are the league's only undefeated team, and they didn't come out of nowhere. The additions of Coach Andy Reid and quarterback Alex Smith were huge, but this was a team that, despite winning just two games, had six players selected to the Pro Bowl. It's almost more surprising that the 2012 Chiefs finished 2-14 than the current Chiefs being undefeated.
Last season's Kansas City team had the kind of potential-energy buildup that the 1999 Colts had heading into Manning's second season.
Back Broncos To Foil Chiefs' D from The Las Vegas -Review-Journal
"I can't remember a 9-0 team ever getting points in a game, let alone more than a touchdown," said Micah Roberts, an analyst for "The Linemakers" on SportingNews.com and a former sports book director. "Is the high line warranted? Probably, and most of it has to do with the Chiefs, a team that has avoided being upset in its past three games against Buffalo, Cleveland and Houston.
"The Broncos covered lofty spreads in only two of their past five games, and they also have Manning on a gimpy ankle behind a makeshift offensive line that will be protecting him against a defense that leads the league in sacks."
Broncos Take On Chiefs With Del Rio, Not Fox, Calling Shots from SportingNews
Second-guessing? In a game of Sunday's magnitude, that comes with territory.
"I certainly understand that," Del Rio said. "You tend to get more of those questions after something doesn't work and I get that, too. But I will execute from my standpoint, my responsibilities. That includes making decisions in those situations."
Last week's victory over the Chargers showed the team and its fans that Del Rio knows how to handle things.
The only question Sunday will be whether the Broncos can handle the Chiefs.
It's Strength vs. Strength In AFC West Showdown from The Denver Post
The Kansas City Chiefs are 9-0. The Broncos are 8-1.
The Chiefs have the No. 1 defense. The Broncos have the No. 1 offense.
What the 1960s were to decades, what Alex Smith is to checkdowns, this game is to the NFL regular-season showdowns.
"This is going to be one of those great battles," said ESPN's Ron Jaworski. "You look at the K.C. defense. It's a very talented group. They're creative in their designer blitzes. They play sub packages, multiple defensive backs, two out of three snaps. So I expect to see that against Peyton. Use some blitz pressure with those small, quick guys to get after him and try to force mistakes."
In The Zone With Peyton Manning from The New York Times
Yet the concern over Manning's health was a reminder of how valuable he is - not just to the Broncos, but the entire league. On pace to win a record fifth Most Valuable Player award and perhaps lead the Broncos to the Super Bowl for the first time in 15 years, Manning is a proven leader on the field, and a winner off the field, too.
He is the country's best-known football player, the successor to Dan Marino, John Elway and Brett Favre, who all held center stage during their prime. Sponsors crave his aw-shucks grin and seemingly spotless personal life, and a raft of endorsement deals, including for Buick,DirecTV and Papa John's, keeps him in the spotlight on nongame days.
The Chiefs Are Here? Bundle Up, Broncos from The Colorado Springs Gazette
With a hype machine powered by premium gasoline, this game features strength against strength: the NFL's best offense vs. the NFL's best defense, with five decades of rivalry stirred into the pot for extra spice.
But this game is important in Kansas City for different reasons than it is important in Colorado.
For the Chiefs this is a prime-time opportunity to beat big brother and prove they deserve a call-up from the JV table to the Varsity room.
All Signs Point To Peyton Playing, But What If He Doesn't from ProFootballTalk
But what if the Broncos decide to seize on that minor sliver of doubt embedded in the term "probable" and shut Peyton down? It would be a brilliant maneuver, giving the Chiefs no time to prepare for Brock Osweiler.
It would, of course, require the Broncos to explain their decision to insist that Peyton will play but then not actually play him, and the Broncos could be fined by the league.
But who cares about a fine? It's a cost of doing business in connection with trying to win a Super Bowl. The 1997-98 Broncos won two of them despite salary cap violations that eventually resulted in the stripping of draft picks.
But not the stripping of the Lombardi Trophies.
Breaking Down The Chiefs Defense from DenverBroncos.com
One play where Poe's ability to alter the pass rush was on the Chiefs' first sack of Houston quarterback Case Keenum, in Week 7. After going the entire first half without bringing down the first-time starter, Derrick Johnson got to Keenum to force a punt on the first series after halftime, capitalizing off Poe, who forced three blockers to engage with him as he moved from right to left across the line. Johnson had been waiting behind Poe; when Poe cut across, Johnson came behind him, and took advantage of an off-balance Wade Smith, who was playing on his heels after Poe's rush. Johnson bounced off Smith and easily got the sack.
Poe also helps the Chiefs disguise their intentions, which they prominently displayed in a 17-16 win over Houston in Week 7.
This Week In The NFL from The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
A lot of people think this will be the comeuppance for the Chiefs after a cupcake schedule. Maybe. But they're catching the Broncos at a great time. Quarterback Peyton Manning is hobbling with an ankle injury and the entire team looked less than invincible against San Diego last week. With two weeks to prepare for the Broncos, Reid will come up with some creative ways to stress the Broncos defense and get running back Jamal Charles the ball in the passing game. This will be a big test for Broncos interim coach Jack Del Rio, who is filling in for ailing John Fox. Del Rio would love to get Bailey back, but that's in doubt. It won't do the Broncos a lot of good blitzing Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith because he's smart and will get rid of the ball. So they'll need their four-man rush to get in his face. Manning will be big-game Manning, you can count on that.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos Preview And Prediction from Athlon Sports
It's easy to understand why the focus for this game has been on Denver's offense vs. Kansas City's defense and that would be the case even if Peyton Manning wasn't walking around on a gimpy right ankle. However, I think the deciding factor will be which of the unheralded units, the Broncos' defense or the Chiefs' offense, makes the bigger contribution.
In the end, I think Manning and company are able to put together enough scoring drives and the defense makes the game-saving play late in the fourth quarter to earn the narrow victory. And whether this matchup plays out like a classic confrontation or not just remember, these two teams will do it all again in just two weeks.
Denver 23, Kansas City 20