"That really hasn't been brought up this week, either by coaches or players." Quarterback Trent Green said about knocking Denver out of post season contention, "I think it's just a division game. It's a rivalry going back a long way and there have been a lot of great games just the four years that I've been here, overtime games, games that have come down to the final play. I just think it's a great series to be involved with."
The Chiefs have enjoyed a rejuvenation of sorts after two wins in a row over the Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Titans, 34-27 and 49-38 respectively. After a slow start and their worst record to start a season since 1982, this team dug themselves in a hole so big that they will have to win out to make the playoffs. Its remote to say the least but if four five other AFC teams hid the skids, the Chiefs could still sneak in as the 6th and final seed.
But this team has been marred with bitter loss after another and that first loss against the Broncos in Denver to open the season set an ugly trend. The Chiefs opened the season in Denver and played to a seesaw battle until the very end when Denver scored 10 points to take control of the game in the fourth quarter. The offense got the team back in the game but the defense failed to control Jake Plummer and his bootleg abilities.
Both the Chiefs and Broncos running game took flight as Priest Holmes and Quentin Griffin rushed for a combined for 307-yards and five touchdowns. The aerial attack however could not upstage the ground game as Green and Jake Plummer only gained 304yards, two touchdowns and produced three interceptions.
Since then the Broncos have been enjoying more consistant success this season; they are in the top ten in every major category except two. They are 26th in the NFL in the give-away/take-away category where they stand a -7. There are 11th in the league in giving up 22 points per game. The Chiefs offense has averaged over 40 points the last two games.
Kansas City still ranks amongst the top two leaders in the league in scoring behind the Indianapolis Colts. But where this team has struggled mightily this year is turning the ball over on offense. Though the red zone efficiency has improved that resulted in two straight wins, the Chiefs defense is not creating any turnovers. That was a hallmark of their defense last season despite all the yards they gave up. Still when these two teams meet it's always a dog fight.
"It'll it be one of our toughest games." Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil said, "They're the best defensive team we play. In our match-ups we have some problems. I give them credit for doing a great job with their defense and coach Coyer does a great job. He's a great buddy of Greg Robinson, so I know him through Greg. They have mutual respect. I think the whole squabble over holding is something to stimulate interest and try to get some penalties called."
Chiefs fans should also get a rise out of tormenting Plummer who was fined Plummer $5,000 for the one finger salute he gave to the Broncos last Sunday at home when his team narrowly defeated the woeful Miami Dolphins. Plummer did not comment on the fine, but did say he will not do it again.
"I'm not a robot. I'm a man that has warm blood and sometimes it gets hot in there running through my veins," Plummer said. "You know people do things that they regret. As long as you can learn a lesson from it and stand up and be a man about what your actions were and move on, that's the true lesson you learn from it."
On the positive side the Chiefs will learn a great deal about running back Larry Johnson today. After back to back games in which he's rushed for 100-yards and scored a pair of touchdowns, the former Penn State back will get a shot at trying to show he can play against a top defense. The Broncos have been very strong against the run and Johnson's stock will rise if he has a strong performance today.