There is however, one teency weency problem with my enthusiasm....it's December and it's in Arrowhead…there is NO worse place in the NFL to play for the Broncos.
1. Tony, Tony, Tony has done it again. I know Tony Gonzales is having an off season, and I know we shut him down in the last meeting, but things have changed a bit in Kansas City. Larry Johnson brings a different dimension (along with 5 straight 100 yard games) to the running game that makes you commit more to the run. Unfortunately I think that opens play action and amounts to a big game for Tony. The key will be limiting his catches in the open field and not allowing him to score touchdowns.
Prediction: Gonzales 7 catches for 110 and 1TD
2. Big Willy Style. How good is Willy Roaf? H.O.F…… meaning Hall Of Fame good. I remember a few years back when big Willy left New Orleans, the Chiefs and Broncos competed for his services via free agency. What that should tell you is that while Willy is a big guy he's also VERY athletic. Roaf missed the first game in Denver, without a doubt this had a lot to do with Trevor Pryce getting up close and personal with Trent Green all game. The Chiefs are starting to click on offense now and a big part of that is Roaf's return.
Prediction : I don't see our boy's dominating the line of scrimmage like we did the first game. Look for the Broncos to have to blitz more to get to Green.....but they WILL get to him.
3. Carl is not so stupid is he? How many Chiefs fans lost there freakin minds when Carl Peterson "wasted" a first round pick on Larry Johson three years ago? I would say the percentage sits somewhere between 99.9% and every single one of them. Now that Priest has gone on IR Carl is looking like your dad did when you hit 25, he suddenly seems really, really smart. Larry is a good back, but don't get carried away, he is not the second coming of Marcus Allen. He runs way too upright and doesn't get much forward lean after he gets hit. Fred Taylor, LaDanian Tomlinson, Lamont Jordan, Clinton Portis, and Tiki Barber all failed to make big marks against this Denver D and I don't think Johnson stacks up well either.
Prediction : Johnson has had five straight 100 yard games, he won't make it to six. Brother Al and the boys will take him to the woodshed for some good ol' fashioned learnin on Sunday.
4. OK! Name TWO Chiefs wide receivers…..yeah me neither. We all remember Eddy "I'm taking my ball and going home" Kennison but who else plays wideout for the Chefs? I know Dante Hall does sometimes and while he scares the CRAP outa me returning kicks he just doesn't seem to have that big of an impact at WR. In the past the Chiefs have had a deadly air attack with Green at QB but his receivers are just not the threats they once were.
Prediction : The Bronco defensive philosophy dictates pressure on the QB and lots of man coverage for the corners. You might see quite a few balls caught in front of Darrent Williams, Domonique Foxworth and Champ Bailey this week but don't expect the Chiefs to get the ball down the field, Green won't have time. Greens line 24-35 265 yards 1TD with 3 sacks and 7 knockdowns by the Bronco D.
5. Mr. Outside and Mr. Inside…but no Mr. Heisman. I love Ron Dayne. He looks like he has finally found a home in Denver. However - and it's a big However - where does he fit? I think that question will be answered in February not December. For the time being I think you can count on seeing the two headed Mike Anderson-Tatum Bell monster on game day. That being said I think Tatum coming back with fresh legs will cause real trouble for the Chiefs. Anderson lulls defenses to sleep by pounding out those 4 and 5 yard runs then all of a sudden when defenses start to get into sync out comes 4.3 seconds of #26. I don't think the Chiefs defense has the speed to contend with a fresh Tatum Bell.
Prediction : Bell rips off 115 yards on 13 carries and scores 2 TD's. Anderson get's 85 yards on 21 carries.
6. In Rod we Trust. Rod Smith played his college ball in Joplin, Missouri at Missouri Southern State College. MSSC is a small school about three hours south of K.C. that draws most of its players from Missouri, Arkansas or Kansas. I'm sure that some of Rod's former teammates will be watching Sundays game rooting for the Chiefs. I'm also sure they will be disappointed. Rod is Mr. Bronco, he is professional, hard working and still the most dependable receiver on the Bronco roster. He might not have break away speed anymore but he gets it done week in and week out.
As the running game starts to produce on Sunday the Chiefs' Defense will be forced to bring a safety up and the linebackers will have to shorten their drops in coverage. That typically opens up out routes and short to medium crossing routes.
Prediction : Look for Rod to have a workman like day with 8 catches for 90 yards and 1TD. Look for coach Mike Shanahan to try and get the ball downfield to Ashley Lelie or Todd Devoe a couple times off play action on second and short plays.
7. Old rivalries die hard. I think the Broncos are a far superior team to the Chiefs. I think we have the 2nd best team in the NFL right now, while the Chiefs are on the verge of rebuilding from the top (head coach) down. I also think this game will prove to be one of the toughest the Broncos play all year. It wouldn't matter if Elvis came back to play QB for the Chiefs this week, it's December and it's Arrowhead. Regardless of how you feel about Chiefs fans, they know football. It will be loud, it will be cold and the Chiefs will come to play. After seeing our boys keep it together in Dallas last week I have faith they can and will win a close game.
Prediction : Broncos 24 Chiefs 17
Voice your opinion on Bighungry71's keys and observations at the Broncos Hardcore Message Board