Chiefs vs. Broncos: Game Preview from The Mothership
The Denver Broncos (8-3) visit Arrowhead Stadium Sunday night to take on a Chiefs team that desperately needs a win to stay alive in the AFC West divisional race.
"It's just that time of year," Chiefs quarterback
Alex Smithsaid this week. "As the season goes on all these weeks get bigger and bigger. And that's what you want. You want to be in a place where these games are meaningful at this time of year.
"This is a big one, a big division game and a lot on the line."
The Denver Broncos currently sit in first place in the AFC West division and are one game behind the conference-leading New England Patriots. A win for Denver would further solidify their chance for a bye in the first round of the playoffs as well as keep them in striking distance of the ever sought after number one seed.
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Game Day Forecast from The National Weather Service
Today Partly sunny, with a temperature falling to around 29 by 5pm. North wind around 11 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.
Tonight Partly cloudy, with a low around 18. North wind 11 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.
Broncos' ground game offers test to Chiefs run defense from Chiefs Digest
While dealing with Manning presents a challenge, the Chiefs have more to consider with the Broncos appearing to achieve offensive balance after coming off a game with 201 yards rushing.
"They've had it in the past, pretty good run team," coach Andy Reid said. "You've got to make sure that you're obviously ready for both. That's what you do. They're going to give you a little of everything, so you better be on your game."
Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton agreed.
"If all we had to do is stop the run this week, we'd feel like, ‘Hey, that's an easier task not to stop them, but we could focus on it,'" Sutton said. "What Peyton does he doesn't allow you to focus on just one phase of their game and that's one of his great strengths."
Kansas City Chiefs to pay tribute to Eric Berry from The Associated Press via The Daily Record
A Kansas City home victory would lift the Chiefs into a tie atop the division, and give San Diego an opening to join them. It would endanger home-field advantage in the conference for Denver, which it has owned for the past two years, making the Super Bowl last season.
It also would atone, in part, for the Chiefs' flop at Oakland on Nov. 20, handing the Raiders their first victory this season.
And it would be a moving tribute to safety Eric Berry, one of the franchise's most popular players who was found to have a mass in his chest that doctors believe could be lymphoma.
Volunteers honor Eric Berry from ESPN
Vols coach Butch Jones tweeted a picture Saturday that showed a red arrowhead with the message "29 Strong VFL" and said it would be added to each player's helmet. Berry wears No. 29 for the Chiefs. The term "VFL" stands for "Vol For Life."
Chiefs primed for Broncos after trying 10 days from The Associated Press via The Columbia Missourian
The game Sunday night between two bitter rivals has a little more riding on it this time around. After Kansas City lost a competitive game in Denver in Week 2, the beleaguered team needs a victory over Peyton Manning and Co. if it wants any shot at winning the division.
"We're playing at home, a great environment to be playing a division team - we know we got to win this game," Charles said. "This game is a go-out-there-and-get-it win. We know we have a tough challenge with a Hall of Famer and a great defense coming to town. I think we're up for that challenge this week. We control our own destiny right now."
Emmanuel Sanders, nearly a Chief, readies for K.C. return from The Denver Post
The Broncos acted quickly, offering Sanders a three-year, $18-million contract with escalators for production after negotiations stalled with free agent Brandon LaFell. Sanders couldn't believe it. The Broncos were his first choice, labeling Denver "wide receiver heaven."
He returns to Kansas City, where his performance this season will likely create envy and anger.
"If they boo me, they boo me," Sanders said. "There's nothing I can do about it."
The Chiefs' receivers don't have a touchdown this season. In 11 games, Sanders has established career-bests in scores (seven), 1,079 yards and 76 catches. He replaced Eric Decker as the Broncos' No. 2 receiver. While viewed by many as a vertical threat, the Broncos loved his versatility, especially on third down.
Three Keys to Broncos-Chiefs from DenverBroncos.com
3. DON'T ALLOW THE BREAKAWAY RETURN.
Thomas and Davis represent the sternest test possible for the Broncos on kickoff returns. The unit's form has improved this year, Barth believes his leg could be stronger than it was prior to his Achilles tendon injury, and kickoffs are now from the 35 after being from the 30-yard-line when he last handled this work on an extensive basis. But if this becomes a game of field position, the kickoff-coverage unit must do well at preventing lanes from opening up and minimizing the potential damage.
Breaking down the Chiefs defense from DenverBroncos.com
Battered by the news that All-Pro safety Eric Berry has a mass in his chest that could be lymphoma, the Chiefs defense rallied around the star of its secondary -- and will soon have to rally to replace him.
From a personnel perspective, the Chiefs are expected to move cornerback Ron Parker to safety to replace Berry.
Breaking down the Chiefs offense from DenverBroncos.com
But the Chiefs kept running. It's not just about Charles, although he presents the most potent threat; it's about Knile Davis, who followed Charles' injury by posting back-to-back 100-yard performances against Miami and New England.
The Chiefs are third in the league in rushing yardage per carry, and fourth in rushing yardage per game. Although Charles has the better yardage-per-carry numbers and is more consistent and explosive, the Chiefs can use him interchangeably with Davis.
Seven for Sunday: The abbreviated Thanksgiving edition from USA Today
Who has the edge: The Broncos. At his core, Broncos coach John Fox is a ground-and-pound, Chuck Noll disciple of smash-mouth football. During his 2002-2010 Carolina Panthers head coaching tenure, Fox's teams were typically among the best at running the rock. With Montee Ball sidelined by a groin injury, Fox went with more two tight-end formations, employing Virgil Green as an extra tackle in last Sunday's 39-36 win against the Miami Dolphins. That helped pave the way for undrafted C.J. Anderson's 167-yard breakout. Expect Manning to rely on the run and a quick passing attack out of the shotgun/pistol formation. Tight end Julius Thomas missed last Sunday's win with an ankle injury, but could return. Kansas City's best chances to pull the upset is by running a heavy dose of Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis in order to keep Manning on the sideline. Denver's defense has allowed 228 rushing yards the past two games.
Hochman vs. Kiszla: Would you rather have John Fox or Andy Reid? from The Denver Post
On the list of great football coaches, John Fox never gets a mention. And Andy Reid of Kansas City? He's nobody's definition of sexy. Fox and Reid, however, give "retread" a good name. They have coached 454 NFL games between them, with six division titles to each man's name. Without Reid and Fox, the Chiefs and Broncos would not be playing with first place in the AFC West on the line Sunday night. But they get no respect. Why?
NFL Whip Around: What we're watching in Week 13 from USA Today
GAME TIME DECISION: The Denver Broncos have two major question marks heading into their Sunday night game at Kansas City, with both cornerback Aqib Talib (hamstring) and tight end Julius Thomas (ankle) listed as questionable. If Talib, who injured his hamstring early in last week's game against Miami, can't play, he would likely be replaced by rookie Bradley Roby, who has played well as the team's nickel corner this season. But with No. 4 corner Kayvon Webster out with a shoulder injury, Talib's status is critical to Denver's depth at that position. Thomas had only four catches - but one went for a touchdown - in Denver's first game against the Chiefs.
Chiefs Host Broncos in Intriguing Match on Sunday from The Guardian Liberty Voice
This game is surely more of a must win for Kansas City than it is for Denver. The Chiefs already lost the earlier meeting that these two teams played this season, and find themselves one game behind the Broncos in the standings presently. Should they lose this game, it would mark their second straight loss in a row, and both of them would have been to divisional rivals. Simply stated, the Chiefs cannot afford to lose this game, as the Broncos would then hold what would appear to be an insurmountable lead of two games over the Chiefs, with only five games left in the season. Plus, the Broncos would hold the tie-breaker, and would place make any hopes of entertaining a division title for the Chiefs out of reach.
Start 'em, Sit 'em, Smash 'em from The National Football Post
Kansas City Chiefs, D/ST (vs. Denver): We fully expect the Chiefs to give Peyton Manning and the Broncos all they can handle Sunday at Arrowhead. That being said, this is still Peyton Manning and the Broncos we're talking about here. There are better D/ST options with more upside available on waivers.
NFL playoff picture coming into focus from The Los Angeles Times
AFC West: Denver, at 8-3, holds a one-game lead over Kansas City and San Diego, and already has home victories over the Chiefs and Chargers. Still, the Broncos aren't the dominant team they were last year and in the last four weeks have alternated losses and wins. The heavy-hearted Chiefs, who play host to Denver on Sunday, have lost All-Pro safety Eric Berry for at least the rest of the season after doctors discovered what's believed to be a cancerous mass in his chest. The 7-4 Chargers, who often find themselves playing from behind at this point in the season, are in a good spot record-wise but have a brutal finish: at Baltimore, New England, Denver, at San Francisco and at Kansas City (having already lost to the Chiefs in San Diego).
In-Game Updates: UT vs. Vanderbilt...Vols Win 24-17 from RockyTopInsider.com
Scouts from the Chicago Bears, Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers are in attendance for the game.
Alabama notebook: Cooper makes sweep of school records from The Montgomery Adverstiser
Scouting: NFL scouts from the Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears were at the game.