There's a lot at stake as the Kansas City Chiefs get ready to face the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. Not only is it a rematch for the Chiefs after losing in Denver just two weeks ago, but it's also a chance to correct the team's only slump on the season. Of course, that's glosses over the bitter rivalry and the fact that these two teams are 9-2 and sit atop the AFC. In other words, there's a lot to play for.
These facts aren't lost on the players. While the coaching staff is focused on getting the maximum out of every player, it's hard for everyone to keep that in mind. Tight Sean McGrath says he's just focused on Denver as much as anyone else, just like he's been told.
"You try to treat every game like the same one," said McGrath. "That's all you have every single week is that game that's coming up. You have to treat every play as such. Coach Reid is really making an emphasis to challenge every single play. That's what I'm going to tell you and that's what our mindset is going into it."
For a veteran like Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Johnson, it's harder to forget that the Broncos are the visiting team this week.
"I think timing is everything," said Johnson. This is a time where we're going to be tested. We're going to have to step up to the plate. You definitely don't want to lose three in a row. What better team to come in; you have to be on your stuff to beat Denver. We're going to be tested this week."
Linebacker Dezman Moses agrees. As one of the players who had to step up due to injuries to Tamba Hali and Frank Zombo, he's feeling the pressure more than most as he prepares for more playing time in the midst of a big game week.
"It's obviously a big game for us," said Moses. "We know what is at stake. We're trying to continue a strong season. This is the next team up, the next team in front of us. We need to go out and have a dominant performance."
"We just played them, so we kind of understand what they do on that side of the ball," added Sean Smith. "You understand what their mindset was against the type of defense that we play. It's all about going out there and watching yourself, particularly. You have to be really critical of it and understanding what you can and can't do against them."
Quarterback Alex Smith says the players are excited to face Denver on their home turf. After taking the loss on the road, Smith hopes to give the Broncos the same feeling on Sunday.
"I think with a divisional opponent there is the home and away element," he said. "They got us there and we'll get them on our turf now. It's unique in a sense that they're only two weeks apart so it feels a little more fresh on your mind. I think everybody is kind of excited about it."