Nobody seems to think the Kansas City Chiefs can beat the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football. The latest betting line I’ve seen has the Broncos favored by 8.5 points. The pundits are attributing the spread to the Chiefs lack of offense and QB Peyton Manning‘s ability to pick apart defenses, even good ones like Kansas City has.
They’re implying that the one-dimensional offensive Broncos are that much better at what they do well than the Chiefs are at their defensive phase of expertise. Kansas City has won three games this season by 8.5 points or less, here’s a look at them:
Week 2 against the Dallas Cowboys, the Chiefs were clinging to a one-point lead with 3:48 left to play. QB Alex Smith handed the ball off to RB Jamaal Charles nine times. He ran for 54 of his 55 total yards rushing on the day and Kansas City picked up three first downs. When Cowboys QB Tony Romo got the ball back, he was standing on his own four-yard line with :16 and no timeouts to work with. The offense ran down a 17-16 victory.
In the fourth quarter of Week 7’s matchup with the Houston Texans, the Chiefs once again led by one. This time Houston QB Case Keenum started from his own 10 and had 1:41 to win with. Twelve seconds later he was lying on his back under LB Tamba Hali and fellow LB Derrick Johnson was cradling the football. Game over. Chalk one up to the defense.
Against the Cleveland Browns the following week, Kansas City had a 20-17 lead with 7:13 remaining in the game and they were backed up. On fourth-and-10, Chiefs P Dustin Colquitt stepped out of his own end zone and put his signature spin on a 43-yard punt. Browns wideout Davone Bess muffed it and special teamer Frank Zombo recovered for Kansas City.
Six plays later, Colquitt landed another of his league-leading punts inside the 20 at the Cleveland 16, when Bess wisely fair-caught it. QB Jason Campbell had 3:55 on the clock and no timeouts. After a failed fourth-and-seven from the Browns 31, the Chiefs took over on downs. Kicker Ryan Succop padded their lead on a 40-yard field goal with :22 remaining. The special teams had made the difference.
In close games in the fourth quarter, all three phases of Kansas City’s game have stepped up and helped the undefeated Chiefs win. We’ll see on Sunday who the real one-trick pony is.
Troy Alan is a Kansas City Chiefs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TRantMedia.