Chiefs vs. Broncos: 10 Things to Watch for Kansas City

Bill RobbinsCorrespondent IDecember 30, 2011

Chiefs vs. Broncos: 10 Things to Watch for Kansas City

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    The Kansas City Chiefs will travel to Denver to take on the AFC West leading Broncos this Sunday.

    KC is just playing for pride at this point since their playoffs hopes were smashed last week with a loss to Oakland.

    Denver, on the other hand, can clinch the division title and a subsequent playoff birth with a win over the Chiefs this weekend.

    Here are ten things to watch for KC in this divisional matchup.

How Will Kyle Orton Do Against His Former Team?

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    Chiefs QB Kyle Orton should have some extra motivation heading into his team's final game of the season this weekend.

    Orton will be facing the Denver Broncos, the same team that dumped him in favor of a guy named Tim Tebow earlier this season.

    There's a lot riding on this game for KC's new starting QB.

    Not only is he facing his former team for the first time but he is also auditioning for his own job as Kansas City's starting quarterback for next season.

How Will Romeo Crennel's Team Perform for Him This Week?

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    After the Chiefs upset the Packers in Romeo Crennel's first game as interim head coach, many around KC were beginning to think that this team was completely behind Crennel.

    Then came last week's disappointing home loss to the Raiders, which gave many fans mixed feelings about Crennel's ability to win big games with this team as its head coach.

    This week, Crennel and his staff will be faced with another tough challenge: beating the Denver Broncos on the road.

    In his last chance to audition for the permanent HC job in Kansas City, Romeo will be hoping that his squad can play like they did two weeks ago in their monumental win against Green Bay.

Can the Chiefs Stop Tim Tebow..............

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    Tebow-mania has swept all over the country during the past few months.

    KC got a taste of it when the Tebow-led Broncos offense threw only eight passes, but were still able to beat the Chiefs at Arrowhead back in Week 10.

    Even though he has been instrumental in this season's turnaround for Denver, Tim Tebow can be stopped.

    Will Romeo Crennel and his defense push the right buttons against Tebow and Co. this time?

Or the Broncos' Rushing Attack.......

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    It's no secret that the Broncos own the best rushing offense in the NFL.

    They have averaged 161 yards per game this season, which is an even eight yards ahead of the second-best rushing unit in the league, the Houston Texans.

    Kansas City's rushing defense will have their work cut out for them in this game as they come in ranked 23rd in the department for the year.

    If the Chiefs want to knock off the Broncos this weekend, then they will need to at least slow down Denver's vaunted ground game.

Or Stud OLB Von Miller?

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    Rookie linebacker Von Miller has dominated in his first season in the league this year.

    The former Texas A&M star has already racked up 64 tackles and 11.5 sacks to go along with two forced fumbles in his inaugural campaign in the NFL.

    He also performed well against the Chiefs earlier this season, picking up 1.5 sacks and injuring Matt Cassel's hand, which effectively ended his season.

    The Chiefs need to have an answer for Miller this week or it could be a long day for Kyle Orton and the offense.

The Running Game Without Jackie Battle

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    The Chiefs will be shorthanded on offense this week when they face the Broncos.

    They will be playing without leading rusher Jackie Battle, meaning that other players will have to step up in his place.

    That means that second-year back Dexter McCluster and veteran Thomas Jones will likely shoulder the load out of the backfield on Sunday.

    If both if these RBs can play like they did against Oakland last week, KC's offense will be in good shape in this one.

Dwayne Bowe vs. the Broncos' Secondary

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    Chiefs star wideout Dwayne Bowe has had his ups and downs against Denver's secondary over the years.

    In their matchup earlier this season, Bowe had just two catches for 17 yards in that game.

    You can bet that Pro Bowl CB Champ Bailey will be blanketing Bowe for most of this game when KC is on offense.

    KC's best receiver needs to play well in this game not only for his team, but also for his long-term status with the organization.

Brandon Carr

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    This is a big game for Chiefs starting CB Brandon Carr.

    Like teammate Dwayne Bowe, Carr is a free agent after this season and this could possibly be his final game as a Chief.

    His recent high level of play has been one of the major reasons that this secondary has been as good as it has this season.

    Crennel and the Chiefs defense need Carr to have another good game against Denver this weekend and they need him to stick around for the long-term as well.

Redzone Offense

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    One of the biggest problems that Kyle Orton had while he was with Denver was his efficiency in the red-zone.

    Unfortunately for the Chiefs, he has carried this with him to KC's offense in his two starts so far this season.

    In those two starts, Orton has managed to score just two red-zone touchdowns while having to settle for a field goal attempt or no points on several other occasions.

    Orton and the Chiefs' offense will have to be efficient in this area on Sunday if they want to pull off this upset.

Can the Chiefs End the '11 Regular Season on a High Note?

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    To many, this game might seem pointless for the Chiefs.

    This would seem to be the case since they have already been eliminated from the playoffs and are merely playing spoiler to the Broncos at this point.

    However, a win over Denver this weekend could give this team the momentum that they need heading into this offseason.

    After all, the last time that KC knocked the Broncos out of the playoffs to end the season, the Chiefs went on to win their next three games to start the following season and went on to win their first AFC West division title in eight years.