A pair of 1-0 teams in the competitive AFC West get Week 2 underway Thursday night as the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning visit a Kansas City Chiefs team fresh off a dominant Week 1 outing.
These teams were always expected to battle atop the division, but the manner in which both teams played in their Week 1 victories clearly has the betting line dancing. Kansas City was simply dominant on the road against a tough Texans team. Their offense looked efficient against a supposedly stout Houston defense, while the Chiefs were solid on defense as well. Denver was dominant on D against the dangerous Ravens, but questions about their offense and Peyton Manning linger on. His back issues and arm strength were definitely concerns at the finish of 2014, and his early play and pre-season outings have done little to calm the doubters. All eyes will be on #18 in blue and orange tomorrow evening in what should be a raucous atmosphere from loyal Chiefs fans at Arrowhead. Already Week 2 is upon us and in case you didn’t have time to properly prepare, read the full game preview below as well as check out the official selection!
Broncos vs. Chiefs Betting Odds:
Denver Broncos +3 (+100)
@ Kansas City Chiefs -3 (-120)
Over 41.5 (-110)
Under 41.5 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Broncos vs. Chiefs Pick:
One of my favourite things to do as we progress from Week 1 and go into Week 2 is take a look at betting lines and spreads pre-Week 1 and post-Week 1. Even though these two squads enter this contest as 1-0, their method of victories greatly varied. The Chiefs were dominant, while the Broncos kind of limped their way through a tough win against Baltimore. Peyton Manning looked unlike himself against the Ravens, though still led his team to victory. That said, before the season started advanced lines suggested the Chiefs were small underdogs for this contest. Now following one good game, they’ve suddenly moved to favourites by a full field goal. This all seems like a bit too much of an overreaction to me.
For starters, while the Chiefs and Andy Reid have a pretty good defense, it’s not as good as Baltimore’s. Kansas City does admittedly have a pretty excellent pass rush, but this is a team that has some pretty glaring holes when offenses stick to the running game. And with Manning not yet looking fully ready, putting the game in the hands of the very capable C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman, may just be Denver’s best route to victory. Kansas City did stop Alfred Blue last week, but both Hillman and Anderson represent the type of backs that can give this Chiefs’ interior fits. Hillman’s speed and Anderson’s power should create big issues for Kansas City on Thursday night.
Even with regard to the passing game, you can’t help but feel too much is being made of Manning’s rapid downfall. He hasn’t just all of a sudden lost it, and look for Manning to calm some of the doubters in a huge stage in Week 2. Kansas City did conceded 230 yards and 2 passing TD’s to Brian Hoyer, and with all due respect to him, if he’s going to do that, a hologram of Peyton Manning could attain those numbers. One key matchup the Broncos should look to exploit is the relatively untested cornerbacks in Kansas City’s secondary. Both rookie Marcus Peters and sophomore Phillip Gaines will need to deal with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. The two are obviously dynamic talents and should be able to create enough separation so Manning can find them with regularity on Thursday night.
Where Denver holds a real advantage is in the play of their supremely elite defense – one that I consider to be the best in football. Last week the Broncos gave the talented Justin Forsett absolutely nothing and they should be able to stifle a shifty Jamaal Charles this week as well. Truthfully, Alex Smith is going to have to beat the Broncos secondary if they want to move the chains consistently and end up on the winning end. But that’s obviously going to be difficult given Denver’s elite pass rush featuring DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller. These guys are simply the two best at getting to the quarterback, and there’s no way Kansas City stops them or Alex Smith avoids them. The duo was all over Joe Flacco in Week 1, and Kansas City’s blocking unit is likely even worse than Baltimore’s.
While Manning is undoubtedly not the same QB he was early in Denver or when he was a Colt, he should not be and no longer is the main focus of this Broncos squad. This is an elite defensive team with some great weapons offensively that help Manning out along the way. Peyton remains a cerebral quarterback and one of the best thinkers of the game. He’s never going to lose this for his team and he won’t be forced into making glaring errors. Look for #18 to keep things simple and give his Broncos a chance to win. Ultimately, the coverage of the Broncos on defense along with their pass rush in the trenches, will just overwhelm the Kansas City front and a mediocre Alex Smith. Denver will force Kansas City into a one-dimensional offense, and look for the Broncos to have success moving the ball on the ground and using their superior talent to negate a boisterous Kansas City home crowd. The line movement based on one game seems exaggerated, and side with the value here on Peyton and the Broncos.
PICK = Broncos +3 (+100)