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It’s nothing like a big division game that might determine the division winner. The Kansas City Chiefs (7-3) have been under the radar quietly winning like an Andy Reid coached team does. The Chiefs are not your exciting team that dazzles you with spectacular plays, they are just methodical and consistent with driving the ball down the field. Led by quarterback Alex Smith, the offense produces long drives without turning the ball over. On the defensive side, they are constantly creating turnovers led by safety Eric Berry. Still stout as ever, they haven’t missed a beat even without linebacker Justin Houston which will return for this game. The Denver Broncos (7-3) have also dealt with injuries throughout their team but has shown resilience all year fighting and battling each game. Denver has put the offense in the hands of quarterback Trevor Siemian and it has paid off. Not as explosive as usual, the offense has done enough to keep the lead and let the defense sustain it. Defensive end Von Miller is having another impacting year with 9.5 sacks a year. Defensively, they haven’t been as dominating as they would like to be from dealing with injuries on that side, yet they still rank fourth in total yards against.
Keys To The Game
The Chiefs biggest weapon on offense is the short passing game whether through play-action, screens or quick outs. In saying this, they need to make sure that they don’t put themselves in a third and long. The third and long seem obvious with any team but they want to limit the Broncos chances in rushing the quarterback. Another important asset to their offense will be long drives. Usually you want to sustain drives to keep the the other teams’ offense on the field but this will tire out the defense and rushers which running the hurry-up offense would be affective knowing that it would be hard for Denver to substitute. Kansas City’s defense has to keep the big plays by the Broncos to a minimum. Also get pressure on Siemian and make him uncomfortable which would give their ball-hawking defense a chance to create turnovers.
Denver will be healthy across the board on defense which means they should be at full throttle. The corners should be able to play press coverage and jam the receivers at the line which will give the pass rushers an extra half second which is all they need to disrupt the play. The safeties have to be aware of the screen plays and crash down to help the linebackers knowing that they have to play honest looking for the run. On offense, the running game has to be at it’s best. This will create the ability to use play-action which should open up the skinny post and slants to the wide outs and tight ends. Speaking of wide outs, the wide receiver must win their match-ups with the defensive backs when they go max protection.
The X-Factor for the Chiefs is running back Spencer Ware. Ware will shoulder a big responsibility in running the ball, catching out the backfield and having to pass protect. Any good back should be ok with that but the problem is he needs to be great in all of those facets. If he does that, then the rest of the offense should run smoothly.
The X-Factor for the Broncos is linebacker Brandon Marshall. Marshall has the responsibility of watching Ware and calling out the play-action or screen plays. Also Smith is known for running when the play breaks down. Marshall has to keep aware of Smith’s mobility. If Marshall is able to be in the right place if and when the pressure gets to Smith, he might be able to get an opportunity for a turnover.
Prediction: This will be an old-time battle where the defenses dominate the game. In saying that, the team that has the less turnovers win. Denver wins 20-16