The formula is simple for the Denver Broncos in Week 17, win and they’re into the playoffs. Led by the polarizing Tim Tebow, Denver has gone on a miraculous run to play themselves back into playoff contention. In this all-important final week of the NFL season, the Broncos will host division-rivals the Kansas City Chiefs. Adding more intrigue to this match-up is the fact that quarterbacking the Chiefs, will be former Bronco Kyle Orton. Orton moved to Kansas City after Denver elected to start Tebow over him earlier this season, and you can bet this game will not be short on drama.
Though the Chiefs are eliminated from playoff contention, they’ll be fielding their full contingent of players and have performed well under new sideline boss Romero Crennel. Adding in the Orton factor and you can bet he would relish the opportunity to see them miss the playoffs off of his doing. Orton will return to the town that had billboards in place calling for his benching, and after being waived in November should be fired up to stick it to his old team.
For Denver, Willis McGahee has vowed to play the entire game at running back, while key veteran safety Brian Dawkins remains hampered by a neck injury. Dawkins is the emotional leader of that Denver defense and after sitting out practice all week, isn’t looking like he’ll be ready to go come Sunday.
The Chiefs have a couple injuries to endure as well as starting running back Jackie Battle is not expected to suit up Sunday. He is officially listed as doubtful and has been spotted in a walking boot for the majority of the week. Battle is currently the Chiefs’ leading rusher, and in his absence Kansas City will need back-up Thomas Jones to really step up.
Chiefs vs. Broncos Spread, Line, and Betting Odds:
Kansas City Chiefs +3 (+105)
@ Denver Broncos -3 (-125)
Over 37 (-110)
Under 37 (-110)
Chiefs vs. Broncos Pick:
This really should be one of the great match-ups of this year’s NFL season. While points will be at a premium, the drama, storylines, and sheer intrigue of this game make it must-see TV. Orton returns to Mile High to take on the Mile High Messiah in Tim Tebow, the person who replaced him months earlier.
While the Chiefs cannot get into the playoffs, I feel they will not be lacking any motivation on Sunday. The players want to win for their new coach in Crennel, and Orton will be motivated to put on a show perhaps running the season of his former team the Denver Broncos. That said, though the Broncos have struggled of late, I like their chances in a do-or-die scenario playing in front of their rabid home fans. Tebow and the Broncos always having a way of pulling through late and expect that to continue in Week 17.
Though Jackie Battle is by no means a premier running back in the NFL, it remains a big loss for Kansas City as the onus will now solely be on Orton to make things happen in an offense he is mostly unfamiliar with. Moreover, when you consider the fact that the Broncos secondary is one of the top units in the league, Kansas City may experience severe difficulties in moving the football.
Expect the Broncos to put on a much tidier performance on Sunday, devoid of the turnovers that have plagued them in recent weeks. Their defense will rebound to stifle the Chiefs, and Tebow and McGahee should be able to shred a Kansas City rush defense that ranks 20th in the NFL. Look for the Broncos to capture the AFC West in a thrilling, low-scoring contest culminating with some epic Tebow Time.
PICK = Broncos -3