Peter Aiken/Getty Images
Smith will have to shred his game-manager label in order for Kansas City to beat Denver.
When: Week 11 and 13
Where: Denver and Kansas City
Even with a team that went 2-14 last year, the Chiefs held Denver's offense in check in a 17-9 loss at home.
Add in Andy Reid at coach and some improved quarterback play with the mistake-free Alex Smith under center, and the Chiefs have the means to defeat Denver this time.
With a healthy diet of Jamaal Charles and some dink-and-dunk throws from Smith, Kansas City can chew up some clock and keep Manning off the field.
Additionally, with the likes of Eric Berry, Dunta Robinson and Brandon Flowers roaming the secondary, the Chiefs match up well against the bounty of weapons at Manning's disposal.
Factor in the pass-rushing prowess of Justin Houston and Tamba Hali against a Denver offensive line sans Ryan Clady, and Kansas City's defense matches up fairly well here as well.
Wait, there's more. Since the Chiefs, too, are in the AFC West, they'll get two cracks at defeating Manning.
What's not to like?
Well, I'll tell you what—or who—Smith.
While he won't lose the game for the Chiefs, he won't win it either. Even if Kansas City keeps it close, it'll take a great performance from Smith to pull out a victory.
Considering that the Chiefs haven't surrounded Smith with the most talented supporting cast, in addition to Denver possessing a quality defense, I don't envision such a scenario occurring.
Prediction: Week 11—Denver 27 Kansas City 17; Week 13—Denver 24, Kansas City 20