GAME PLAN: The Broncos have newfound confidence in their power running game, which should be used often against the Chiefs. Kansas City hasn't been great against the pass but it has been even worse against the run. The Chiefs rank 31st in the NFL in rush defense. If the Broncos get an early lead, they'll give Peyton Hillis plenty of carries.
Defensively, the Broncos will be spread out and tested by the Chiefs. In the last meeting, Denver gave up many big plays in the run game to Larry Johnson, but the Chiefs offense has changed since then. The Broncos will still see plenty of Johnson, but they'll also have to limit big plays from quarterback Tyler Thigpen and the passing game.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Broncos WR Brandon Marshall vs. Chiefs CBs Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr. Marshall had a touchdown and seven catches in the first meeting against Kansas City's rookie cornerback duo. Marshall has been steady but unspectacular in recent weeks. The Broncos want to get him on a roll in the final weeks of the season.
Broncos CB Champ Bailey vs. Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe. If Bailey returns, it will be interesting to see how the Chiefs treat him. They will likely test him early, considering he hasn't played since Oct. 20 because of a groin injury. But Bailey is still Denver's best defender. If Bailey doesn't play, Bowe vs. Dre Bly becomes a key matchup for both teams.
INJURY IMPACT: CB Champ Bailey hasn't returned to a full practice from a groin injury, and the Broncos won't rush him back if he isn't fully healthy.
LB Nate Webster practiced in full on Wednesday and appears set to return to his starting middle linebacker spot. Spencer Larsen, who filled in when Webster was out with a knee injury, will be moved back to fullback this week.
LB D.J. Williams, who had missed four games with a knee injury, went through a full practice on Wednesday. Although he was doubtful last week, his full participation gives him a good chance to play this week if he doesn't have a setback.
RB Selvin Young practiced in full on Wednesday. That is a good sign that he will be able to return this week from a groin injury.
DE Ebenezer Ekuban was held out of practice on Wednesday with a back injury. The injury isn't believed to be serious.
S Marlon McCree was out of practice Wednesday. He has a high ankle sprain that has been slow to heal and might be another week away from returning.