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Chiefs vs. Broncos 2013: 6 questions for Kansas City to answer

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The Kansas City Chiefs face the Denver Broncos on NBC's Sunday Night Football in Week 11. The Chiefs are 8.5-point underdogs and face a tough task in beating the Broncos. Here are six questions that must be answered for the Chiefs to win the game.

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How hurt is Peyton?

He apparently aggravated a previous high ankle sprain. He is going to play but it's obvious he's beat up a little bit. It's not clear how much of a role this will play in the game but it has the potential to be a HUGE story line.

How can you stop Peyton?

Nick Jacobs has a nice piece here on four ways the Chiefs can sack Peyton.

The biggest goal of the game. Stop Peyton Manning. We've written a TON of stuff about this. You can read about the routes Peyton likes here, how to sack him here and charting his last three games here. This is what we've learned:

Play press coverage. The Chiefs do this often and they do it well. This means playing up on the receivers. The goal is to disrupt their timing with Peyton because this offense is all about timing.

Make him move in the pocket. Don't let him get comfortable. Once you see his feet tapping, you know you're doing your job. Justin Houston and Tamba Hali can rush the passer from the outside. When Peyton steps up in the pocket, Dontari Poe needs to be there to hit him.

Utilize three corners wisely. Brandon Flowers will be covering Wes Welker in the slot. Marcus Cooper and Sean Smith will be covering receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker on the outside. Eric Berry will probably be on tight end Julius Thomas often. Not many teams have three corners like this, which makes the Chiefs uniquely equipped to hang with Denver. Use them wisely.

How can the Broncos stop Jamaal?

I question whether they can, at least consistently. I can see Jamaal Charles having a big day against the Broncos. He probably won't have a lot of carries because Andy Reid is going to be passing the ball plenty. But Jamaal has the ability to break off a huge run, something the Chiefs have yet to do this season.

Asked about the Chiefs lack of a long run this season, offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said, "It's a lot of things. No. 1, the offensive line, fullback, tight ends at the line of scrimmage and second-level defenders taking care of those blocks. A lot of your longer runs come from the receivers blocking down the field. Our guys have done an excellent job down there; sometimes it's the backside cutoff safety or corner that makes the play. We emphasize the backside blocks a lot, and we'll get ours. There will come a time when Jamaal or one of the backs will spring loose and hopefully this is the week."

So, Jamaal is a major factor in this game, as he is with every Chiefs game having picked up 37 percent of the entire team's yards so far this season, highest percentage in the NFL. If Jamaal can hit the edge on the Chiefs stretch plays, then I will BEG Andy Reid to continue giving Jamaal the ball.

How does Andy Reid's post-bye week record factor in?

The Chiefs were on the bye last week. Andy Reid is 13-1 in games played after the bye. If there's a better stat that demonstrates what a good coach he is and what a good staff he has, I don't know what it is. That is a fantastic record.This is also one of the most important stats this week because 14 games is a pretty big sample size. Reid has an advantage here.

Why is that the case?

Reid didn't give us any secrets this week when he was asked about it. He said he gave his players time off even before the CBA made that bye week time off mandatory.

Maybe he's just a really good coach and takes advantage of the extra time? I hope that's the case.

Can Alex Smith go deep?

The thinking is that the Broncos will do what a lot of other fans have done -- challenge the Chiefs at the line of scrimmage. So far, Alex Smith has rarely made those teams who play with a single safety back pay. There are a handful of deep balls to Donnie Avery but that's about it.

We always want Alex to be testing the defense down the field more but this week it becomes even more important. The Broncos score a LOT of points. So the Chiefs probably won't get away with scoring just 17 points again. Realistically, they'll need closer to 30 or more.

The most efficient way to pick up 30 points is to pick up yards in chunks and then capitalize in the red zone.

Will D-Bowe be a distraction?

The Chiefs seventh year receiver was picked up for possession of marijuana coming back from bye week time off last Sunday night. Here's what Andy Reid said about the incident. And here's what Bowe said about it in a statement. His lawyer claims innocence.

Bowe WILL play in this game. He will start and have his regular role. Andy Reid indicated that the "rules and regulations" prohibit the Chiefs from taking action against Bowe. That discipline will have to come from the league. (The Chiefs could suspend him if they wanted, it happens all the time ... but they won't).

Will this be a distraction? I don't think it will be. I was at Arrowhead on Wednesday and not one player would touch the D-Bowe topic. Nobody offered up anything notable when it came to Bowe. They stayed away from it. It's not like they're spending a lot of time worrying about a minor legal issue for another player.

The Chiefs need Bowe to be on point for Sunday's game, one where the Chiefs offense is going to be expected to put up multiple touchdowns, which hasn't been the case in recent weeks. He's their best receiver, and he's coming off a seven-catch game, which is the best of the season so far. The momentum was trending upward for Bowe. Let's hope this was just a blip on the radar and not something that is going to derail the course he was on.

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