With Thanksgiving behind us and masses of people pushing, shoving and acting every bit ungrateful towards each other in the Black Friday debacle that is indicative of the state of our nation, we can now move on to the Sunday NFL games. The Denver Broncos are hosted by a team that was once known to have the best home field advantage in sports, the Kansas City Chiefs.
Back in the 80’s and 90’s, a team did not go into Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City expecting to come out with a win, no matter the Chiefs record. In 2012, the Chiefs are 0-5 at home and looking every bit the worst team in football sitting at 1-9 and last in the AFC West. Enter the Broncos, who are riding a five game win streak and lead the west at 7-3, and you have a recipe for disaster for the Chiefs.
Even with a torn MCL and fractured leg that has sidelined RB Willis McGahee for the next eight weeks, the Broncos should be able to get production from their pool of Ronnie Hillman, Lance Ball and Knowshon Moreno. The Chiefs are 25th in the league against the run allowing 129.2 pts/gm which will bode well for the Broncos who need to give Hillman, a rookie, the opportunity to ease into a starter,s role in McGahee’s absence.
Peyton Manning will have a tougher time against the Chiefs pass defense that ranks 6th in the NFL and only allows 214.6 yds/gm. But this is Manning, who is having an MVP year and if the run game can be just above average, the the play-action pass will devour the Chiefs by halftime. I look for Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and Joel Dreessen to have big games against the deflated Chiefs, who many picked to win the division in the preseason because of their “talent”.
On the other side of the ball for the Chiefs, newly crowned starter, ex-Bronco Brady Quinn, will wish that he did not stay in the AFC West when choosing his next team after leaving Denver. Quinn never received his chance in Denver, or Cleveland for that matter, because he is just not that good at the QB position. This is a player who could not start over Tim Tebow, who had a paltry 46.5% completion rate for the Broncos. Now, with Matt Cassel reeling, Head Coach Romeo Crennel is looking for any answer. He will not find it in Quinn, especially against the league’s best pass rush with an offensive line that is one of the worst in the NFL.
Look for Von Miller, who is second in the NFL in sacks with 13 and also in consideration for the MVP award, consistently pressure Quinn and maybe garner another three sacks this week. After the Chiefs get done worrying about Miller, they need to deal with Elvis Dumervil, Derek Wolfe, Wesley Woodyard and D.J. Williams, who round out the pass rush. The Chiefs have allowed 10 sacks over the past four games and average only 166 yards passing over the last five games.
This does not bode well for the Chiefs, who now go against the league’s 10th best defense against the pass and sixth best against the run. Once Champ Bailey clamps down on Dwayne Bowe, Dexter McCluster will have a difficult time cracking Chris Harris, Tony Carter, or even Tracy Porter, who has been practicing with the team this week.
The Broncos may be without McGahee, but they are not without the ability to win against the hapless Chiefs. But this is the NFL and anything can happen, that’s why they play the game. The Chiefs only chance to win is to shut down Manning and create turnovers, something the Broncos may very well oblige them with, as they have trouble holding onto the ball in all phases.
Regardless, the Broncos are on a mission and the Chiefs are just the next obstacle in their way towards winning the west. I look for this to be a blowout at Arrowhead as the Chiefs lose their eight in a row, and the Broncos win their sixth in a row. We might even see rookie Brock Osweiler late in this one: Broncos 38 Chiefs 9
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