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coleryan
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Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs: Preview and Pick

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On 11/26/2013 08:49 AM in NFL
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs: Preview and Pick

The AFC West will get a very important rematch in week 13 when the Denver Broncos travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. Both teams lost last week and will be looking to rebound with a big win. For the Chiefs if they can stay healthy, a win here could make all the difference in winning or losing the division.

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs Odds

The opening NFL point spread for this game have the Broncos listed as (-3) point favorites. This is mainly due to the fact that the Broncos won the first meeting and that the Chiefs have lost two games in a row. With over 70 percent of the public betting on the Broncos, this line has moved and it can now be found at (-3.5) at several of the top rated online sportsbooks.

The Broncos come into this game licking their wounds after a tough loss against New England. The 24-point blown lead matches the largest by the Broncos in a loss. They previously blew a 24-point lead in a 30-27 loss to the Raiders in 1988. The comeback from 24 points down is the largest deficit overcome to win a game in Patriots history. Their previous best was a comeback from 23 down to beat the Seahawks, 38-23 in 1984. The Chiefs also had a difficult loss.

The Chargers lit up the Chiefs defense in Kansas City, scoring 41 points on Sunday. Entering the game, the Chiefs had allowed 63 points TOTAL in 5 home games this season. This defensive lapse could be attributed to the many injuries that were accumulated throughout the game. If those players are healthy this weekend, the Chiefs will be a much different team and will be ready to avenge their loss against the Broncos.

The latest football betting trends for this game reveal that the wagering angles favor the Broncos. The Chiefs are 1-4 against the spread (ATS) when playing a team with a winning record, 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up loss and 0-4 ATS when playing in the month of December. The Broncos are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games after accumulating less than 150 yards passing in their previous game, 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games after accumulating more than 150 yards rushing in their previous game and 11-5-1 ATS in their last 17 games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game.

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of is big game, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.
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11/27/2013 12:53 PM
The Kansas City defense couldn't slow down Peyton Manning when linebacker Justin Houston was in the lineup, now they might have to try and do it without him. Houston, who suffered a dislocated elbow against San Diego, will likely miss Sunday night's game against Denver, according to ESPN.com.

The pass-rushing linebacker has totaled 11 sacks this season, a number that ranks third in the NFL behind only Robert Mathis (14.5 sacks) of the Colts and Robert Quinn (13) of the Rams.

Houston injured his elbow just before halftime against the Chargers and didn't return to the game. The 24-year-old linebacker was scheduled to have an MRI on Monday, but there was so much swelling in the elbow that the team had to postpone it.

"You could see it after the game," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said on Monday. "We tried to keep the swelling down, but it was puffing up a little bit after the game when we were in the locker room there. Overnight, it even swelled up more. We'll just wait and see."

The Chiefs could also be without linebacker Tamba Hali against the Broncos. Hali suffered a slight ankle sprain in the second quarter against the Chargers and Reid hasn't said yet if Hali will be able to play on Sunday.

With Hali and Houston both out in the second half against San Diego, the Chargers put up 31 points. Before Week 12, Kansas City hadn't given up 31 points in any game all season, let alone one half.

It will be tough to stop Manning and the Denver offense without Hali and Houston in the lineup. In the Chiefs first meeting with the Broncos two weeks ago, Manning threw for 323 yards and wasn't sacked once in a 27-17 Denver win -- and that was against a healthy Chiefs defense.

Houston and Hali have combined for 20 of Kansas City's NFL-leading 37-sacks this season. Linebackers Frank Zombo and Dezman Moses will likely see extended playing time if Hali and Houston can't go against the Broncos.
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Pfile Nickname coleryan
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11/27/2013 12:55 PM
Kansas City Chiefs can clinch a playoff spot this weekend.

In every case, they need to beat the Denver Broncos on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. If that happens, here are the various scenarios that can put the Chiefs in the postseason:

1. San Diego loss or tie (at home vs. Cincinnati) plus Tennessee loss or tie (at Indianapolis) plus Jets loss (at home vs. Miami) plus Baltimore loss (at home vs. Pittsburgh).

2. San Diego loss or tie plus Tennessee loss or tie, Miami loss plus New England loss (at Houston).

3. San Diego loss or tie plus Tennessee loss or tie plus Miami-Jets tie.

4. San Diego loss or tie plus Tennessee loss or tie plus Baltimore-Pittsburgh tie.

5. San Diego loss or tie plus Miami loss plus New England loss plus Baltimore-Pittsburgh tie.

6. San Diego loss or tie plus Miami-Jets tie plus Baltimore-Pittsburgh tie.

7. Tennessee loss or tie plus Miami-Jets tie plus Baltimore-Pittsburgh tie.

So there are a few ways the Chiefs can clinch a playoff spot. I'm going to throw out the ones requiring a tie as unrealistic and focus on the first two scenarios. Neither of those are likely to happen, but stranger things have happened on a single NFL weekend than the Bengals beating the Chargers, the Colts beating the Titans, the Dolphins beating the Jets and the Steelers beating the Ravens, as required under scenario No. 1 above.

Of course, any of these scenarios require the Chiefs to beat the Broncos. The way they've been playing, is that the most unrealistic expectation of all?
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11/27/2013 12:58 PM
It’s hard to complain about offense if you’re a Denver Broncos fan, but I think the team learned an important lesson against the New England Patriots that can help them the rest of the season.

All throughout this year, the Broncos have been absolutely absurd with their conservative approach to offensive football. Is that an outrageous statement? Go ahead and check the facts. The Broncos want to be a running team, and they have accidentally slipped into the best passing offense in the league.

Don’t believe me?

The Broncos are FIFTH in the NFL this season with 340 rushing attempts, and fourth with 448 pass attempts. I didn’t capitalize the ranking for pass attempts because that is probably to be expected. The fact that Denver is fifth in the league in rushing attempts (also, second in touchdowns) is a very key reason why this team has struggled to dominate like they are capable of, especially since Von Miller returned in week seven.

As I had previously stated, the Broncos want to be a running team. There’s no question about it. The passing game is the clear strength but Denver has a clear game plan week in and week out to establish the run, even sometimes running the ball in third down situations that would otherwise clearly call for a pass play.

Why am I putting up such a fuss about this? Well, as the headline clearly states, the Broncos proved against the New England Patriots that even when the running game is as good as it could possibly get, it wasn’t enough. Meaning Knowshon Moreno carrying the ball 37 times for an incredibly efficient and effective 224 yards and one touchdown would have probably earned him MVP honors for the week had the Broncos won, but it came in a losing effort.

The Broncos dominated the Patriots up front, especially in the running game, and came away with only inflated statistics to show for it.

You have to wonder if this will prove to the Broncos’ coaching staff that no matter how good they can be running the football, the ratio of pass/run plays should be more like 5-2 rather than 4-3.

Now, obviously Peyton Manning didn’t have the hot hand against the Patriots and the Broncos should have been able to make enough plays to beat New England. I get that. But what cost the Broncos was a lack of aggressive play in the second half. They made no halftime adjustments and decided to play out the rest of the game as if they were playing not to lose rather than trying to embarrass the Patriots on their home field.

The Patriots were fired up offensively, proving that whether they were with the wind or going up against it, they could move the ball through the air if by no other way than pure will power.

The Broncos looked like they were struggling to design a play that could net a completed pass.

Let’s face it, everything went wrong for the Broncos in the second half against New England, but a lot of it could have been prevented with a more aggressive offensive game plan coming out of the locker room, because scoring seven points in the third and fourth quarter is unacceptable for this Broncos team.

The Broncos are not a running team, nor should they continue to try to be. The running game should be a nice complement to the Four Horsemen in the passing game, but if they insist on the running backs touching the ball, it should be on screen passes more often than it has been.

I’m not saying the Broncos should abandon their run game strategies, but quit trying to make it a focal point of the offensive game plan. It’s getting old watching the Broncos put the ball in Knowshon, Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman, and C.J. Anderson’s hands when they should be sticking to what works best, which is the right arm of Peyton Manning.

Kudos to Knowshon Moreno on his great game, but I hope he never has to carry the ball 37 times in a game again.
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11/28/2013 10:48 AM
For the first time this season, both the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs are coming off losses, and both were more disappointing than the average NFL defeat.

The AFC West rivals will meet for the second time in three weeks Sunday in Kansas City with each looking to take control of the division and avoid another week of looking for a bounce-back game.

"I know, look, everybody's going to ride that roller coaster," Broncos interim coach Jack Del Rio said. "Last week we're the greatest, this week not so good. We'll just keep working at it."

A number of complicated scenarios exist for each team to clinch a postseason spot with a win this week.

While the Broncos (9-2) might be feeling the majority of the disappointment after matching a franchise-record 24-point collapse Sunday in New England, the Chiefs (9-2) are likely feeling the brunt of the pressure.

They've dropped their first two games in consecutive weeks, including their first at home in Sunday's last-minute 41-38 loss to San Diego. They've also lost consecutive games at Arrowhead Stadium to the Broncos.

The more alarming trend might be a defense that has allowed season-high point totals the last two weeks. After allowing over 17 points for the first time this season in a 27-17 loss Nov. 17 at Denver that didn't exactly raise huge concerns, Sunday's game certainly exposed some holes - and physically created them with injuries.

"Just like we were doing when we were winning, we need to go back and see what's up and correct it and just keep going to work," Chiefs safety Eric Berry said. "It's not the end of the world. But we do have a sense of urgency this week to get the things corrected that we see on tape."

Kansas City has two sacks in its last four games after piling up 35 through its first seven. Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers combined for 715 passing yards in two weeks after the Chiefs had held each of their previous nine opponents under 300 yards through the air.

They now face Manning again, and this time around Tamba Hali (9.0) and Justin Houston (11.0), who account for over half of the team's sacks, are going to be at best banged up.

Hali suffered a sprained ankle last week, though he said before practice Wednesday he plans to play. Houston's partially dislocated elbow has forced him into a sling and will likely keep him out of Sunday's game.

"Losing that caliber of players, we have to step it up, make something happen," Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers said. "That's what we get paid to do."

Coach Andy Reid said starting defensive tackle Mike DeVito will likely return after missing last week's game with a knee injury.

The Chiefs are still best in the AFC in scoring defense, allowing 16.3 points per game. They're also holding opponents to an NFL-low 29.1 percent on third down.

The Broncos offense, however, has been another kind of elite, averaging a league-best 451.5 yards and 39.0 points, 11.2 points ahead of No. 2 Seattle. Their 48.3 percent third-down conversion rate tops the league, as does their red-zone efficiency (78.7).

Manning is within two touchdown passes of breaking his franchise record of 37. Tying that mark Sunday likely would have helped avoid a 34-31 overtime loss to the Patriots.

He finished with a season-worst 70.4 passer rating with a season-low 19 completions on 36 attempts for a season-low 150 yards.

Matching a season-high four turnovers as a team was likely the bigger issue.

"Hated the way that ended, not getting a chance to get our hands on the ball," Manning said. "We helped them with some short fields. It's hard to do that to our defense."

That hasn't been an issue for Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith or the team as a whole. They've turned the ball over a league-low 11 times while creating an AFC-best 24 takeaways.

Smith has thrown five interceptions, and his 25 picks since 2010 are the fewest among quarterbacks with 1,100 passing attempts.

The Broncos aren't without injury issues of their own.

Knowshon Moreno ran for a career-best 224 yards on a career-high 37 carries against the Patriots. Though he isn't certain to play, an MRI showed a right ankle injury suffered at the end of the game caused no significant damage.

Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's jammed right shoulder also wasn't serious.

Del Rio said he expects cornerback Champ Bailey (foot) and tight end Julius Thomas (knee) to return after both missed the New England. Julius Thomas is tied with Demaryius Thomas for the team lead with 10 touchdown catches.

Starting defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, however, has been placed on season-ending injured reserve with a dislocated hip.
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11/29/2013 03:22 PM
The Kansas City Chiefs are stumbling home to Arrowhead Stadium off two straight losses. The Denver Broncos are hobbling in off a disheartening letdown in New England.

Much has changed in the two weeks since they played at Mile High Stadium.

Much has stayed the same, too.

The Broncos and Chiefs are both 9-2 and tied atop the AFC West, so it's still a two-team race to the finish. But the Chiefs are no longer the NFL's lone undefeated team — in fact, they're the first to start with nine straight wins and then lose two in a row — while the Broncos squandered a chance to create some separation with their overtime loss to the Patriots last weekend.

"I think just playing is the best medicine," Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said, "but no question, when you're playing for your division, it raises the focus for sure."

The Broncos would have the tiebreaker over Kansas City and a two-game lead with four games to go with a win. The Chiefs would put themselves in position to win the division for just the second time in a decade, not to mention take a step toward home-field advantage in the playoffs.

So it's an easy argument that there's even more on the line than the first time they met.

"I don't think you can just say, 'Well, it was just a couple weeks ago that we played them,'" Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said. "You have study them just as hard as you did the first time around. So from that standpoint, it doesn't get any easier to prepare because they are such a diverse team scheme-wise and they have such good players."

The Chiefs could be without two of their best players, though.

Leading pass rusher Justin Houston, who dislocated his elbow in a gruesome fall during the Chiefs' 41-38 loss to the Chargers last week, will likely watch from the sideline. His running mate Tamba Hali hopes to play despite spraining his right ankle against San Diego.

If neither of them can go, it doesn't bode well against the Broncos' high-scoring offense.

"I feel real optimistic about being out there," said Hali, who's missed just two games in his eight-year career. "I want to be out there with our guys. I can definitely be a force."

Even with their top two pass rushers, the Chiefs failed to get pressure on Manning in their first go-around. Manning threw for 323 yards and a touchdown without an interception or taking a sack, and the result was a reasonably comfortable 27-17 victory.

"We don't take anything for granted," Broncos interim coach Jack Del Rio said. "We go in, we prepare hard, we make sure we understand the things they want to get done and how can we keep that from happening, and make sure that we're attacking them with the things that we want to be good at.

"Again, it's basically approaching it very similarly," Del Rio added. "The difference is that we just did this a couple weeks ago."
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11/29/2013 03:23 PM
Here are five things to keep in mind as they play Round 2:

MORENO'S FLAT TIRE:
Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno, who had career high 224 yards rushing against the Patriots, missed practice time this week with an ankle injury. Moreno hopes to play against Kansas City, but it's uncertain how effective he'll be.

BATTERED DBS:
The Chiefs' defensive backs were humbled last week by Philip Rivers, who threw for nearly 400 yards against them. Now, they face the prospect of Manning and his plethora of wide receivers. "You have to be willing to get down there, to challenge, compete," Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. "Sometimes they might hit a big play on us, but we're trying to win the game. That's the No. 1 thing we're trying to do."

VICKERSON'S VALUE:
Broncos defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson landed on injured reserve with a hip injury, so it will be up to Sylvester Williams to step in and help slow down Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles. "I told him, 'Where this team wants to go, you're going to have to grow quick," fellow defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said. "There are certain expectations.

BEWARE THE PICKS:
Denver excels at running crossing routes that inadvertently (wink, wink) cause picks in the secondary. Demaryius Thomas may catch the ball 5 yards downfield, but he ends up gaining 20. "That's something you have to stop," Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson said. "You have to disrupt their routes, hit them as they're crossing the field."

CHIEFS LEARNING:
Chiefs coach Andy Reid wouldn't reveal particulars, but he said there were things he learned from the way New England dominated Denver in the second half last Sunday. "You can learn from every game and every snap," he said. "We'll see how that works out."

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11/30/2013 05:42 PM
The Broncos left for Kansas City and their second showdown in two weeks with the Chiefs on Friday. Defensive tackle Derek Wolfe was left behind.

According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, Wolfe became ill on Friday afternoon, before the team embarked on its road trip.

Wolfe appeared on the injury report as questionable. His status could change if he does, or doesn’t, travel individually to Kansas City on Saturday.

The starter already had been struggling to keep his weight up, due in part to food poisoning that he caught after eating some bad spinach (is there such a thing as good spinach?) in the preseason
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11/30/2013 05:52 PM
Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (shoulder) and tight end Julius Thomas (knee) are questionable for Denver, but running back Knowshon Moreno (ankle) and cornerback Champ Bailey (foot) are expected to be in the lineup.

The Chiefs ruled linebacker Justin Houston (elbow) out and linebacker Tamba Hali (ankle) joins guard Jon Asamoah (shoulder) and tackle Eric Fisher (shoulder) as questionable.
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