As the Denver Broncos left home for their battle on Sunday morning they will arrive in Kansas City knowing exactly what they are walking into. The Broncos are 13-34 all-time versus the Chiefs in KC. Sure there have been recent successes and even pockets of good success over the years, but by and large, this series is usually dominated by the home team. This time the Chiefs hold serve, and while this isn’t the Chiefs of the Len Dawson or Elvis Grbac or even Trent Green eras, the Broncos know the danger lurking in Kansas City.
While the Chiefs may be down overall, the Broncos have been ambushed in Kansas City many times before, so they do know what to anticipate. In Kansas City, their team has been on a downward slide for the last few years and lends itself to setting this game up as a trap game. With the Broncos winning their first three games of the season, having pulled out the last two in only a way that Moses could appreciate. The Denver Broncos know that they are a young and very fortunate football team at this point in the season.
Two weeks ago, veteran referee Ed Hochuli made the biggest blunder of his otherwise stellar career as an NFL referee. With the game in the dying moments and the Broncos inside the Charger 10 yard-line trying to get a tying score, Jay Cutler lost the ball on his throwing motion and fumbled prior to his normal release. Ed Hochuli blew and inadvertent whistle ruling the play an incomplete pass, sending the Chargers into a tizzy and propelling the Broncos onto a redemptive TD strike and a subsequent two point conversion to help them beat the Chargers. Mike Shannahan has always had a reputation as a riverboat gambler, but he became the certification board after not only going for two, but having rookie Eddie Royal run the same exact route he scored the touchdown on to ice the game with his conversion grab.
Last week the Broncos jumped out early to a 21-3 lead at home against the New Orleans Saints and found out the hard way, just how explosive they are. The Saints had an opportunity to go up late in the game with a long field goal only to have Martin Gramatica push it wide right. The Broncos dodged another bullet and now can put themselves in total control of the division with a win against Kansas City since the Broncos also beat the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Charges are now 1-2.
So in Kansas City, the Broncos know exactly what they are dealing with: A team that usually dominates at home against divisional foes. The Broncos anticipate Kansas City to bring their horses in the run game. This could be a quick game if the run can’t be stopped by the Broncos. Sure the Broncos offense is explosive, but their defense has been exploded. The Bronc’s have given up more land than is available for sale in the continental US. Denver is currently ranked 30th out of 32 teams (hello to St. Louis and Detroit from the Mile High City.) and are giving up an average of 422 yards a game. Granted two of the first three games were against high powered offenses. San Diego’s offense is high flying they haven’t seen since the Air Coryell era, and New Orleans is as high flying as well, they have never seen. Nonetheless the Broncos defense has a number of question marks and Kansas City now says that Pro-Bowler Larry Johnson may not even be the best running back on the Chiefs team. Jamaal Charles is now in his fourth season with the Chiefs and is primed and ready to step into a lead role, just as Johnson was ready being the understudy to Priest Holmes.
The bottom line to this series is the defenses usually prevail out in Kansas City. The Broncos feel as though they have caught a break in playing in Kansas City earlier in the season instead of late when it’s a virtual guarantee to be bitter cold. In addition the Chiefs defense is ranked 25th and the Broncos should have good weather to amp up the offense. Kansas City’s only chance to win this game on paper is to control the ball with their potent run attack. If they can dominate the line of scrimmage then they have a legitimate opportunity to win the game. With the good weather in the forecast, the Broncos should be able to keep the game close early and probably pull away at the end.
Prediction for the game:
Denver Broncos 31
Kansas City Chiefs 17