In a Sunday that is filled with a slew of pretty crummy games, the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs matchup will be one worth paying attention to. This game will undoubtedly have implications on the first seed in the AFC, as the Broncos, Chiefs, and Patriots will all probably be the ones vying for a coveted bye and home field throughout the playoffs. This will be the second time in three weeks the two have faced off, the first was in Denver with the Broncos emerging winners on a Sunday night, 27-17. The Chiefs will get their shot this week to return the favor in Kansas City. Arrowhead isn’t the easiest facility to play in, in fact, they broke Seattle’s record as the nosiest stadium in the NFL. I don’t know if they’re going to be recording the decimal levels at Arrowhead today, but I imagine it could be even louder than then.
The teams are coming off losses in week 12, the Broncos blew a mammoth lead to the Patriots and the Chiefs lost a wild one against the Chargers. Both had to be demoralizing the fashion in which they lost, but with this game just a week away, the team that can refocus and shake it off will be in much better shape. We’re in pretty good shape heading into week 13, notching consecutive weeks at 4-1 and then having a great 2-0 Thanksgiving. I imagine this will be the most widely bet on game Sunday, and I plan on hopefully bringing another winner to you guys.
Broncos vs. Chiefs Betting Odds:
Denver Broncos -6(-115)
@Kansas City Chiefs +6(-105)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Broncos vs. Chiefs Pick:
The Broncos didn’t blow the doors off the Chiefs two weeks ago, and the Patriots exposed them in the second half, for the first time probably all season, it is evident Denver is not invincible. As dominant as they have been for the majority of the season, I don’t think it is wise to plug them into the Super Bowl just yet. We may be watching a preview of the AFC finals tonight, just like the last two weeks have perhaps been a preview. With the temperatures dipping low and the wind starting to whirl up across the country, people are beginning to think that Peyton Manning isn’t built to play in these conditions. Rightfully so I suppose, I can count many outdoor, cold weather games he has come short up in. Nevertheless, I would take Manning rather than a lot of other quarterbacks in the NFL, regardless of the weather conditions. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-50’s, so there really isn’t any room for weather excuses today. Even though the Broncos scored 31 points a week ago, I think only one scoring drive was accounted for by the offense. They got out to that sizable lead due to three New England turnovers that set the Broncos up with beautiful field position. So I wouldn’t say 31 points is a good representation of what the offense did last week. Overall this season however, they have been outstanding. They are 1st in the NFL at yards per game at 451.5 and are scoring 39 points. Again though, they have been more average than anything the past two weeks.
Heading into Denver two weeks ago, the Chiefs had a top-5 defense. After getting torched for 51 points against the Chargers last week, it definitely bumped them out of that picture. They have actually slipped significantly in yards allowed due to last week and the Broncos game, as they are all the way back in 17th. However, the Chiefs still allow only 16.3 points a game, even after the 41 points given up last week. I tend to ignore skewed results, and 41 points allowed in a game will certainly skew the number. If we look back, the Chiefs constantly held teams to well under 20 points a game. They allowed the Broncos to score 27, but I wouldn’t say that is too horrible on the road. If they give up 27 at home today, I’ll be more judgemental on them. Arrowhead is a much different beast than Mile High. Manning depends a lot on changing it up at the line of scrimmage, something that may be an issue with the crowd noise.
The Chiefs depend heavily on the running back Jamaal Charles, who ran for 115 and 2 touchdowns last week. They rank 13th in rushing yards per game and depend more so on the passing to mix it up a bit. When it comes down to it, the Chiefs depend on their defense more than anything. Problem I have with the Chiefs this week is that there are some injury concerns coming into this game. Tamba Hali sprained his ankle last week, but plans on playing. I am not sure how effective he will be, though. Then there is Justin Houston that has been ruled out due to a dislocated elbow. Hali and Houston are a load in the pass rush, so Hali hobbling and Houston out hurts that considerably. The Broncos aren’t in great shape defensively either. They’ll presumably be without corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who got injured trying to dive for a pointless interception at the end of the half against the Patriots. Safety Rahim Moore is out, and pass rusher defensive end Derek Wolfe will be out as well.
I initially liked the under when look at this, but with the injuries the over looks appealing. I mentioned Manning may have issues with the noise, but they know what’s coming, and have undoubtedly been working on ways to get plays in. A couple big plays from the Bronco offense and that’ll put a damper on the noise level. The Denver offense should look better in ideal weather conditions, after a poor performance last week in New England. Likewise, the Chiefs will try and test this secondary. Alex Smith isn’t Tom Brady, but the defense looked awful after Rodgers-Cromartie was absent for the second half. I’ll have a play on the OVER 49, in a game that should be higher scoring than expected.
PICK: OVER 49(-110)