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Chiefs vs. Broncos preview: Losing Aqib Talib and DeMarcus Ware, how fans view Peyton Manning and more

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To prepare for Sunday's Chiefs-Broncos game I spoke with Kyle Montgomery over at SB Nation's Broncos blog, Mile High Report. You can find our Q&A below. And you can find my answers to his questions here.

AP: What does the loss of Ware and Talib do to the Broncos defense?

MHR: It hurts, but it's not brutal. This is the second game will miss Ware this season, and last time, Shaquil Barrett stepped up in a huge way. In his first NFL start, Barrett registered six tackles, three assists, 1.5 sacks, three tackles for loss, two QB hits, one pass defended, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Yeah, it's still eyebrow-raising weeks later just looking all that up. Meanwhile, covering for Talib will be Bradley Roby, who was a first round draft pick a year ago and had a pretty big impact on the last Broncos-Chiefs game (ran in the game-winning touchdown). Do the losses hurt? Yes. Will the Broncos be alright? I think so, especially if those two players step up.

AP What are the two sides to the Peyton Manning argument - those who want him and those who want him benched? Is one side a majority?

MHR: Those who want Peyton Manning recognize that he's the leader of this team, is still a passionate competitor and coach-on-the-field, and still has moments that make you think, "Peyton is back." Plus, the Broncos are winning.  A lot of Broncos fans recognize the parallels to this season and the 2006 season, when the Broncos benched Jake Plummer, despite a 7-3 record, and went with Jay Cutler. That had a psychological effect on the locker room, and the Broncos lost a bunch more games and missed the playoffs that year. Those who want to see Peyton benched argue that this elite defense is being wasted on an aging quarterback who won't help the team win in the playoffs. They may be right. They also want to see what Brock Osweiler has; he's been a backup for his entire rookie contract, which ends in 2015. But I think the former group are in the majority; most fans are happy with Peyton.

AP: What are Broncos fans feeling for the Super Bowl this year? Is there confidence? Who worries you the most?

MHR: I wouldn't say there is as much confidence as 2012-2014, to be honest, because of Manning. In the NFL, it's difficult to consider yourself Super Bowl-worthy when your quarterback is struggling. It's just a quarterback league. Sure, teams have done it, like the 2000 Ravens, but they also had a running game that helped their defense stay fresh. Denver's running game is inconsistent. It's the biggest problem I have with the Broncos actually, that Denver isn't committed to the run as much as they should be with Gary Kubiak as head coach.

AP: You're the Broncos offensive coordinator. How are you attacking the Chiefs defense? What does Denver do well these days?

MHR: I'd like to surprise the Chiefs this week with a heavy dose of something they won't see on tape from the Broncos so far - multiple-tight-end sets. In other words, Vernon Davis. I think Davis was brought into the offense to give the Broncos options, and he wasn't quite ready to make a big impact in his first week. He'll be more ready in Week 2. So look for Davis and Owen Daniels, who has had back-to-back great games, to get more involved, especially if Emmanuel Sanders (game-time decision) can't go. The Chiefs are pretty good against tight ends, so it's a bit of strength vs. strength, but I think the Chiefs defense is hot right now across the board. The Broncos offense needs to perform well this week, period, or else they'll lose this game.

AP: Your prediction for the game?

MHR: I like the Broncos, mostly because they're at home. I think the Chiefs are red-hot, and they're scaring me a little bit, especially with that week of rest. But I think the Denver's defense steps up after getting blasted by Andrew Luck a week ago and returns to game-winning form. I also think Barrett and Roby can serve as a galvanizing aspect for the defense, where everyone elevates their game. It's a close game for three quarters, but Denver's defense comes up with a turnover in the fourth quarter to make the score look more lopsided than the game really was (kinda like Week 2). Broncos 23, Chiefs 13.

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