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What the Broncos did to Patriots that the Chiefs couldn't

The Kansas City Chiefs lost to the New England Patriots last week while the Denver Broncos beat the Patriots in the AFC Championship this week. That means the Broncos are going to face the Panthers in Super Bowl 50 while the Patriots are going home.

So, what did Denver do that KC didn't? Let's look...

1. No Justin Houston

Love my guy Sam Mellinger but if you do a Ctrl+F for "Justin Houston" in this column it doesn't bring up anything. It's impossible to talk about the differences between the Chiefs and Broncos games against the Patriots without mentioning Justin Houston. Yeah, injuries aren't an excuse blah, blah blah. The Chiefs best pass rusher only played eight snaps in the game. The Broncos are a different team if Von Miller plays eight snaps. Tamba Hali, who was terrific earlier in the year, was dealing with a balky knee that could end up helping him decide to retire. Sure, injuries aren't an excuse ... but can you tell the story of these two games without mentioning Justin Houston?

*Reminds me of CBS mentioning Houston's injury once in the first quarter and then not again the rest of the game. Yes, Broncos fans, I'm clearly still salty.

**After seeing stats like this - the Broncos hit Brady more than any team has in the past 10 years - I'm not sure if Houston makes much of a difference.

2. The Broncos cornerbacks are better

Marcus Peters will be very good and Sean Smith was one of the best values in recent Chiefs free agency history. Aqib Talib and Chris Harris are better. That's what it is. It's insane that the NFL's best corner tandem is from the football juggernaut known as the University of Kansas but it's true. Their corners were better, they were able to play better on that day and it made a big difference in the game.

3. The Broncos were at home

Tom Brady, the greatest quarterback of our generation, is 2-7 in Denver. Home field advantage matters in the NFL. The Chiefs were on the road and the Broncos were at home. This is a big difference. I keep coming back to this:

If the Chiefs avoid just one of those turnovers in Week 2, they sweep Denver and play at home in the playoffs while the Broncos are on the road. Unfortunately, that's not how it works. The Broncos finished while the Chiefs did not.

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