WHEN THE CHIEFS PASS
The Broncos have struggled to rush the passer this year, but still put tons of heat on Chiefs quarterbacks a few weeks ago at Arrowhead Stadium. Damon Huard was knocked from the game, and with wet-behind-the-ears left tackle Will Svitek starting tomorrow, Brodie Croyle is at great risk if KC's offense is forced to throw too much. Svitek had a horrible preseason and wasn't much better last week against the San Diego Chargers.
Denver's second-year defensive end, Elvis Dumervil, leads the team with eight sacks and should have his way with Svitek on passing downs all game long. But the Broncos will move Dumervil around some, so expect Chris Terry to have his share of problems with the small, but extremely athletic pass rusher.
The good news for the Chiefs is that Dwayne Bowe absolutely dominated Denver's secondary in the first matchup, and should be able to exploit them even more with Croyle throwing him the ball. Denver was burned late in the game by the Bears two weeks ago, and even the Raiders had some success – Tim Dwight, whom no one will mistake for an elite receiver, toasted Dre Bly for a touchdown on Oakland's first possession last week.
WHEN THE BRONCOS PASS
Jay Cutler started out hot this year but has leveled off some recently. His completion percentage has dipped and he's still giving defenders a chance to intercept passes consistently three or four times a game – he was intercepted twice in Oakland last week. Even worse, at times he's underthrowing receivers, despite his big arm, and appears hesitant with his release.
The bad news for the Chiefs is that Brandon Marshall is blossoming into a number one receiver, even with the absence of Javon Walker over the last few weeks. He dominated KC's secondary at Arrowhead, and most likely will do so again Sunday. Walker has actually returned for Denver, but hasn't been much of a factor, as his knee isn't close to 100 perecent.
The other thing for Kansas City to worry about it is tight end Tony Scheffler, who's taken on a larger role recently and is now fully healthy after recovering from injury at the start of the season. The Broncos have been splitting him out wide, where his 6-5 frame gives him a big advantage over most defensive backs. Expect the Chiefs to stick Jarrad Page, the tight-end killer, on him, however.
WHEN THE CHIEFS RUN
Kansas City had some success against the Broncos in the first matchup, and may find more tomorrow, as Denver's run defense hasn't improved at all. In fact, the Broncos dumped veteran defensive tackle Sam Adams this week, and may start two extremely small tackles now in Alvin McKinley and Kenny Peterson.
Expect a run-heavy gameplan for the Chiefs after last week's aggressive attack did little other than get Damon Huard knocked around. Kansas City may be able to run to the left a little more effectively with Damion McIntosh on the sidelines, as Will Svitek is a stronger player (despite his struggles in pass protection). If Kolby Smith can get one-on-one with either Ian Gold or John Lynch, it's a matchup he can win. Both players have noticeably declined this year, especially Gold, who has been a huge liability.
WHEN THE BRONCOS RUN
Travis Henry has overcome his nagging injuries (for now), but Denver's most dangerous back might be un-drafted free agent Andre Hall. Selvin Young, another rookie, will likely start, but Hall had an impressive game against the Chicago Bears a couple weeks ago, and breaks more tackles than Young. He hadn't played much before the last month, so he's also got fresh legs.
It's the same old story scheme-wise here, as the Broncos will bust out the familiar zone-blocking scheme, but there's a new wrinkle to defense – the option. Denver ran it extensively against the Bears with Jay Cutler and Hall, and with the way KC's defenders have been giving up the cutback runs recently, it could really hurt the defense. Donnie Edwards is a gametime decision (hamstring) for the Chiefs, and Derrick Johnson will fly in late to Denver today and attempt to play after the passing of his father.
The Chiefs have received slightly better field position in recent weeks with Jeff Webb and Eddie Kennison returning kicks, while the Broncos were destroyed by Devin Hester (two returns for scores) in Chicago two weeks ago. Expecting an epic battle of strong-legged punters in the thin Mile-High air with Dustin Colquitt and Todd Sauerbrun squaring off.
The Chiefs have lost five in a row, and the Broncos are on their own two-game skid. Something has to give, but Kansas City traditionally plays horribly in Denver. Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards is 2-3 lifetime against Mike Shanhan.
Kolby Smith runs wild, but the Broncos run wilder, and Brodie Croyle does well just to stay alive.
Broncos 20, Chiefs 10
Film Review: Chiefs vs Broncos
WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories
Packers Acquire Davis; Place Shields on IRKnile Davis goes from fourth on the depth chart in Kansas City to a key role with the short-handed Packers. He is big and fast but to this point has failed to put it all together.
Week 6 NFL DFS: DraftKings Secret StarsHave you experienced the fun of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS)? We have some recommendations for you if you're interested in participating in contests over at DraftKings. With just a…
Week 6: Four Bewildering BackfieldsEvery week, Fantasy Football Expert Mark Morales-Smith examines the most turbulent backfields in the NFL to help decipher whether or not there are any Fantasy stars in the making.
Three Backfields With Question MarksEvery week, Fantasy Football Expert Mark Morales-Smith examines the most turbulent backfields in the NFL to help decipher whether or not there are any Fantasy stars in the making..…