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Inside The Matchup: Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs Week 12

The Broncos come out of their bye ready to take on the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. Join us as we go deep inside this classic AFC West matchup.

The Denver Broncos are coming off their much-needed bye. The time off afforded players like Derek Wolfe and Aqib Talib the opportunity to heal up and recharge for the stretch run. Traditionally, the Broncos have been very good coming off the bye, holding a 21-6 all-time record, including 15-3 at home. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs are doing a little soul-searching, following their Week 11 loss to Tampa Bay. 

Make no mistake. This game is going to be knock-down drag-out.

Both teams are 7-3. One of the AFC's most timeless rivalries will be recapitulated on Sunday Night Fooball (NBC). 

Offense Broncos Chiefs
Net Yards Per Game (NFL Rank) 324.7 (27th) 332.8 (24th)
Yards Per Play (NFL Rank) 5.1 (27th) 5.3 (19th)
Points Per Game (NFL Rank) 23.9 (14th) 22.8 (19th)
Possession Average 29:04 30:01
Net Rushing Yards Per Game 97.4 (22nd) 99.7 (21st)
Net Passing Yards Per Game 227.3 (23rd) 233.1 (22nd)
Had Intercepted/Yards 8/93 4/95
Sacks Allowed/Yards 26/148 22/128
Fumbles/Lost 13/7 11/6
Third Down Pct. (NFL Rank) 38.4% (18th) 34.7% (25th)
Red Zone TD Pct. (NFL Rank) 48.5% (26th) 40.0% (31st)
Turnover Margin (NFL Rank) +5 (5th) +14 (T-1st)

Analysis: As you can see, the Broncos and Chiefs are very similar offensively. Both are ranked mostly in the bottom third of the NFL. Kansas City's defense has saved their bacon, taking the ball away prolifically, giving their offense choice field position. Combined with Alex Smith's all-world ball security, their give-take ratio is ridiculous. 

Defense Broncos Chiefs
Net Yards Per Game (NFL Rank) 318.0 (4th) 366.1 (25th)
Yards Per Play (NFL Rank) 4.8 (2nd) 5.6 (19th)
Points Per Game (NFL Rank) 18.9 (9th) 18.7 (T-5th)
Net Rushing Yards Per Game 123.7 (29th) 121.7 (27th)
Net Passing Yards Per Game 194.3 (2nd) 244.4 (16th)
Intercepted By/Yards 10/197 13/198
Sacks For/Yards 29/163 19/119
Opponent Fumbles/Lost 13/10 18/10
Third Down Pct. (NFL Rank) 37.9% (10th) 43.7% (30th) 
Red Zone TD Pct. (NFL Rank) 51.6% (10th) 55.6% (T-5th)
Takeaways 20 22

Analysis: The Chiefs defense lives and dies by the takeaway. Without it, they are ranked in the bottom third of the league, with the exception of points per game — but that, too, is tied to turnovers. This defense can be exploited on the ground and on third down. 

Special Teams Broncos Chiefs
Punts-Average Yards (Gross) 46.0 45.8
Punts-Average Yards (Net)  41.7 41.2
Punt Returns-Average Per 9.8 15.1
Punt Returns-Average Per Allowed 6.2 6.0
Kickoff Returns-Average Per 22.5 21.4
Kickoff Returns-Average Per Allowed 16.9 25.6
Field Goals Made/Attempted 21/24 23/26

Analysis: Again, it's kind of scary how similar these two teams are. The Broncos are better at limiting kickoff returns, while the Chiefs are picking up almost six yards more per punt return. 

Penalties Broncos Chiefs
Penalties Against/Yards 72/607 61/452
Opponent Penalties Against/Yards 65/579 58/443

Analysis: The Broncos clearly haven't been as disciplined as the Chiefs, owning 11 more penalties. The flipside? Denver opponents have been penalized seven more times than Kansas City's. 

What To Watch For

• Cornerback Chris Harris, Jr. needs an interception to become the seventh player to record multiple interceptions in each of the last six seasons.

• Outside linebacker Von Miller needs a half sack to join Simon Fletcher as the only two Broncos to post five 10-sack seasons.

• Miller needs a half sack to tie Bruce Smith (83 GP) for the fourth-fastest player to record 70 career sacks.

• Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas needs 100 receiving yards to tie Calvin Johnson (34) and Julio Jones (34) for the most 100-yard receiving games in the NFL since 2011.

• Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware needs a sack to tie Richard Dent and John Randle for the eighth-most sacks in NFL history.

• Ware needs three sacks to tie Julius Peppers and Jason Taylor for sixth.

Choice Nuggs

• Denver has won a franchise-record 28 consecutive games when winning the turnover battle to represent the longest active streak in the NFL.

• The Broncos have scored a league-high 93 points off turnovers (38.9% of their overall point total).

• DeMarcus Ware will be making his 36th alltime appearance on NBC's Sunday Night Football — the most by any NFL player since the program made its debut on the network in 2006.

• During the last five seasons, the Broncos have compiled a 26-8 (.765) overall record in divisional play to represent the highest win percentage against their own division in the NFL during that span.

• Denver has now won five straight division titles to tie Oakland (1972-76) for the most consecutive AFC West crowns in history and tie for the fifth most consecutive division titles in NFL history.

The All-Seeing Eye of Elway

• The Broncos have played 100 total games (incl. postseason) during John Elway's tenure as an executive (2011-pres.), posting a 71-29 (.710) overall record that ranks second in the NFL during that period.

• Elway's 71 total wins are the most by any current NFL team's top personnel executive through his first 100 overall games.

• Elway has signed or extended the contracts of 14 players who have combined for 24 Pro Bowl selections with the Broncos.

• Elway is the only NFL general manager during the last five years to acquire future Pro Bowl players through the draft, street free agency, unrestricted free agency and college free agency.

SOURCE: Denver Broncos Media

Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.

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