Kansas City Chiefs Schedule Preview: Week 12 vs. Denver

The summer walk-through of the Kansas City Chiefs schedule continues today with a look at their Week 12 home game against the Denver Broncos.  Please see the link at the bottom of the page for the previous 11 game previews.

Even though this game is on November 25 it will be the first time the Chiefs & Broncos have hooked up in 2012, with the season finale being in Denver. This is a good schedule spot for the Broncos. While they are coming off what’s currently expected to be a nationally televised game against the San Diego Chargers at home, the following week is a home date with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Peyton Manning and his teammates aren’t in the kind of sandwich spot that invites a look-ahead. For their part, while the Chiefs come off a difficult home game with the Cincinnati Bengals, this is the middle round of a three-game home stretch that will likely determine the Kansas City season. It’s unlikely either team will get looking ahead or be out of gas.

While Manning’s first visit to Kansas City as a Bronco will draw the media attention, the matchup to watch is the battle between Kansas City offensive tackle Eric Winston and Denver defensive end Elvis Dumervil. The Broncos’ best chance to succeed defensively is to pressure Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassell into mistakes. If Winston locks down Dumervil by himself—and I think he will–the Chiefs can focus their attention on linebacker Von Miller. Given that I believe Kansas City can establish the ground game, if they also take away the Broncos’ ability to pressure the quarterback, then the tempo of the game is firmly in Kansas City hands.

As we evaluate this game in early July I’m assuming that Manning will be healthy and be smoothly integrated into the offense by the time November 25 rolls around. I believe that, but it’s certainly not a guarantee. And even if Manning is healthy, the Broncos still lack a consistent deep threat to stretch the field. Eric Decker is more of a possession guy, while Demaryius Thomas lacks the consistency. While the Kansas City corners are not exactly a team strength, Denver’s personnel is not ideally suited to exploit this.

In short, this is a game Kansas City must win if they expect to compete for the AFC West title and the personnel is there to do it on their homefield.

Read previous Kansas City Chiefs’ summer game previews

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  • OrangeCrush

    Of all the teams in the AFC West, I think the Chiefs pose the biggest threat to the Broncos taking the division championship again in 2012, but there are a few things to consider here that I don’t think the author is properly addressing.

    Eric Winston may be able to handle Dumervil now and then, but he won’t be able to contain him all game. The same goes for Von Miller on the other side, and if the Chiefs use one of their backs / tight ends to chip either of those guys, that either buys the other Denver rushers time or allows for pressure up the middle (and Denver’s new defensive line is capable of that now with the additions of a healthy Ty Warren and rookie Derek Wolfe). Speaking of the defensive line, this isn’t the “run on them at will” defense the Broncos have been sporting for years now. They’ve made some improvements. While I think it will be hard for Denver to stop the likes of Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis if both are in peak form, there’s no guarantee that either of those two will be. And finally, discount Denver’s receivers at your peril. Calling Decker a “possession” guy just seems silly–especially from a KC fan, wasn’t he the guy that ran past KCs (better) corners last year to catch a bomb from Tebow to beat the Chiefs in Arrowhead?–and if you think Demaryius Thomas will still be inconsistent after playing with Manning for months by November, you should think again.

    So while I still think that KC poses the biggest threat to Denver in the AFC West–the Chiefs have a stout defense (lets see how those corners hold up) and a potentially brutal ground game (again, assuming JC/PH are playing to form)–I still think that KC has some holes to fill (a franchise QB, a pass rusher to complement Hali, and someone other than Bowe who can catch the ball) before I’d show such confidence that they can beat the Broncos as the author has here.