The Denver Broncos have been living easy in the AFC West for the last few years. They even managed to win the once dominant division with an 8-8 record and Tim Tebow under center. Now with four-time MVP Peyton Manning running the offense, a postseason appearance is nearly assured. That being said, the Kansas City Chiefs’ offseason acquisitions of quarterback Alex Smith and veteran head coach in Andy Reid seem to have things turned around in Kansas City and could pose a serious treat to the Broncos reign over the AFC West this year, and for years to come.
Though the Chiefs were the worst team in football last year, all of their problems were clearly a result of the dismal quarterback play from Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn. The two unproven signal callers combined for 20 interceptions, only eight touchdowns, and a QBR of just 31.9. The team has a talented corps of offensive skill players with Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles, and a top-ranked defense with Eric Barry, Derek Johnson and Tamba Hali, they simply need a quarterback who can manage the game, get the ball to their playmakers and convert short third downs — and that is exactly what they got in Alex Smith.
In Smith’s first three games with the Chiefs, he has thrown four touchdowns, no interceptions, and has the team off to a 3-0 start — already topping their win total from 2012. Though Smith does not have elite arm strength, he seems to have really bonded with new Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, and they have found plenty of ways for Smith to attack defenses underneath and off play action. So far Smith has completed 64 percent of his passes for 669 yards.
For Broncos fans, this is bad news. The Chiefs’ match up very well against the Broncos and they have a very winnable inter-conference schedule. If Alex Smith can continue to play mistake-free football and Jamaal Charles remains healthy, the Chiefs could legitimately dethrone the Broncos this year as AFC West champs. Moreover the Chiefs have a number of extremely talented young players and with a new quarterback who appears capable of leading the team on the field, as well as a new veteran head coach, the new look Chiefs could become a big thorn in the Broncos’ side for a very long time.
On a more positive note, could this be the year the heated Broncos-Chiefs rivalry is finally reignited?
Written by John Spina. Follow him on Facebook or on twitter @jsspina24