Broncos v. Chiefs Game Scout

The Denver Broncos face the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football at 7:00 p.m. MDT. One of the key matchups, as usual, will be to contain the Chiefs kick returner Dante Hall. Read about the matchups for tonight's game in our Game Scout.

Games: Sunday
Atlanta Falcons (1-1) at Buffalo Bills (1-1)
Carolina Panthers (1-1) at Miami Dolphins (1-1)
Cincinnati Bengals (2-0) at Chicago Bears (1-1)
Cleveland Browns (1-1) at Indianapolis Colts (2-0)
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) at New York Jets (1-1)
New Orleans Saints (1-1) at Minnesota Vikings (0-2)
Oakland Raiders (0-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0) at Green Bay Packers (0-2)
Tennessee Titans (1-1) at St. Louis Rams (1-1)
Arizona Cardinals (0-2) at Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
Dallas Cowboys (1-1) at San Francisco 49ers (1-1)
New England Patriots (1-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0)
New York Giants (2-0) at San Diego Chargers (0-2)

Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) at Denver Broncos (1-1)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 9:00 ET
GAMEDATE: 9/26/05
TV: ABC, Al Michaels, John Madden, Michele Tafoya

2005 RANKINGS: Chiefs: offense 6th (3rd rush, 18th pass); defense 26th (4th rush, 29th pass). Broncos: offense 19th (22nd rush, 13th pass); defense 21st (22nd rush, 15th pass)

KEYS TO THE GAME: Chiefs RB Priest Holmes is the only opponent to rush for 100 yards at INVESCO Field since it opened in 2001 -- and he has done it twice. So Denver's focus on defense is pretty clear. The Broncos will stuff the box in an attempt to contain Holmes and backup Larry Johnson, often leaving their corners on an island. If Kansas City can take advantage with a big play or two in the passing game, it will have a huge edge, but the Chiefs have yet to strike much of a run-pass balance. The Chiefs' revamped defense has been much improved to this point, but their bitter rivals should pose the biggest test yet. The Broncos are determined to get their sputtering running game untracked, while the Chiefs' goal is to keep the running game in check so they can try to force QB Jake Plummer into mistakes.

FAST FACTS Chiefs: Lead series 50-40. ... Have at least one rushing touchdown in an NFL-high 17 consecutive games. ... 20-14 on Monday nights. Broncos: Are 8-25 under coach Mike Shanahan when allowing a 100-yard rusher. ... 22-29-1 on Monday nights.

--LT Willie Roaf is considered no better than 50-50 to play in Monday night's big divisional game in Denver. Roaf missed Kansas City's victory in Oakland with a hamstring injury sustained early in the season-opening win over the Jets.
--TE Jason Dunn, a key component in the Chiefs running game, did not practice Thursday when the Chiefs went through their first workout of the week for their Monday night game at Denver. Dunn, listed as questionable with a knee injury, told reporters he planned on playing in Denver.
--FB Tony Richardson did not practice Thursday while resting the sore knee he sustained in the season opening win over the Jets. The knee kept Richardson out of practice in the week leading to last week's Oakland game, but he was ready by game time.
--DE Carlos Hall did not practice Thursday with a back injury. A situational pass rusher, he's questionable for the Denver game.
--LB Derrick Johnson could be a big factor in the Chiefs' plans to limit the bootleg plays Jake Plummer has used repeatedly against Kansas City to either buy time to throw or turn nothing plays into big gainers. Johnson has to avoid being overly aggressive and biting on the play fakes that Plummer often turns into effective boots.

--CB Darrent Williams missed the first part of Denver's practice Thursday when he was hit in the head during a special-teams session. He returned shortly after and the Broncos said he was fine.
--RB Tatum Bell practiced on Thursday after sitting out Wednesday with a sprained ankle. The Broncos are hopeful Bell will be ready to play by Monday, when they face Kansas City.
--RB Mike Anderson said his injured ribs are feeling better. He's not 100 percent yet, but is improving and hopes to be completely healthy soon.
--K Paul Ernster was signed to Denver's practice squad. Ernster, who started the season as the Broncos' kickoff specialist, impressed the team with his punting in training camp and in a year or two could take over for Todd Sauerbrun after Sauerbrun leaves.
--TE Nate Jackson, who was out the first two weeks of the season with a hamstring injury, has practiced all week. He's a tough matchup because he is a converted receiver with good speed and hands, and could help the Broncos' depth at tight end once he's full speed.

Dick Vermeil admits he hasn't viewed the video tape of last Sunday night's Chiefs win in Oakland.

But that didn't stop the former 14-year ABC football analyst and current Chiefs coach from critiquing the work of ESPN analyst Sterling Sharpe, a former receiver whose seemingly endless gushing about Oakland receiver Randy Moss rankled Chiefs fans.

"I felt, from what everyone has told me, that the presentation of that game was not up to the standard of a national broadcast because they used guys who had never worked a ballgame," Vermeil said in an obvious reference to Sharpe, whose previous ESPN experience was as a studio commentator.

"When you're in that spotlight and you're playing a big-time football game," Vermeil added, "it should not be a game where they use an apprentice."

Vermeil admitted his comments were not based on his own review, but from what "a ton of people told me."

The Denver Broncos have taken notice of the new-look Kansas City Chiefs defense. In recent years the Broncos have used the Chiefs defense as little more than a speed bump. Denver has averaged 463.5 yards per game against Kansas City in the past three seasons. Denver faces Kansas City for the first time this season on Monday night.

But the Chiefs have improved their defense through the draft, free agency and trades, and the Broncos aren't taking anything for granted against Kansas City's defense.

"Their scheme stayed the same but their guys are different," running back Mike Anderson said.

The Broncos need to show some improvement on offense. Their first two games have produced two touchdowns. They haven't been able to run the ball well and it will be tough to get the running game going against Kansas City. The Chiefs have allowed only 3 yards per carry this season.

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan was frustrated with the offense's untimely penalties and costly turnovers. The Broncos had a touchdown called back because of a penalty against San Diego. They've also had troubles in the red zone, including an interception by Jake Plummer inside the 20-yard line last week.

"I think we have proven that we can move the football, but we have to do it consistently," Shanahan said. "We can't make mistakes the way we have been making mistakes. We have to eliminate some of those penalties and turnovers, and then you put points up on the scoreboard."

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