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NFL Denver BroncosKansas City Chiefs

Chiefs vs. Broncos: 5 Storylines To Follow

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Chiefs vs. Broncos: 5 Things to Keep an Eye On

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs are getting set to square off with the Denver Broncos in what figures to be one of the best games of 2013. The two squads will throw down in Denver on Sunday Night Football and you can bet that Americans will be watching by the millions.

Before the season began, many people were speculating that this game could start to become the rivalry it once was. In recent years, the annual battles between the two AFC West rivals have fallen off. It's not that dedicated Chiefs and Broncos fans weren't as in to the games, it's that the rivalry had lost some of its luster for most football fans around the country.

Back in the 1990s, Chiefs vs. Broncos one easily one of the best rivalries in all of football. Although it was brief, the battles between Joe Montana and John Elway were absolutely classic. But even after Montana retired, the Chiefs were solid throughout the remainder of the 1990s and early 2000s. It wasn't until the mid-2000s when things took a turn for the worse in KC.

The Broncos of course won back-to-back Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998 and have basically been at least a .500 team ever since. But now in 2013, the rivalry has that big feel to it again. You can basically thank Peyton Manning and Andy Reid for making it happen, too. Those two guys changed the culture of each team and now we're set up with a huge midseason battle with two teams sporting a combined loss total of one.

Here are five major storylines to follow on Sunday night as the Chiefs and Broncos battle for control of the AFC:

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Will Peyton Manning's Ankle Hold Up?

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Minus the one year he was out of football, we've never really heard much about Peyton and injuries. The 37-year old is clearly hobbled with a high ankle sprain coming into week 11 and it could have a significant impact on the outcome. Peyton is as tough as nails, but if he can't plant on his back leg, it could spell trouble for the Broncos.

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Will Dwayne Bowe Prove To Be a Distraction?

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Bowe went out and got himself arrested right before the biggest game of the year. There's no way it hasn't been distracting on some level for the Chiefs. Can the WR rise above and come through with his best game of the season?

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Can the KC Offense Put Up Enough Points to Win?

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Alex Smith and the Chiefs' offense have been serviceable so far in 2013. Smith has been more of a game manger than anything else. But will 14-17 points be enough to beat the Broncos? Probably not. It's time for Andy Reid to open up a new section of the playbook for the SNF showdown.

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Who Will Win the Battle Up Front?

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

This is likely going to be the key to the game. We all know the Chiefs have the best defensive line in football, while the Broncos don't have the greatest of offensive lines. Denver cannot allow Houston and Hali to get free shots on an injured Manning. If the Chiefs win the battle at the line of scrimmage all night, they could be in business.

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Who Will Be the X-Factor?

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

We all know that Manning, Thomas and Charles are going to get theirs, but who else will step up? The x-factors in this game will make all the difference. If Bowe, McCluster, Welker or Decker can go off, the entire course of the game could be changed.