This week’s Sunday night primetime matchup pits two 7-3 teams, the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs trying to keep pace in the AFC West, the NFL’s strongest division. Both squads, who trail the 8-2 Oakland Raiders by a game, will settle the issue at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. MST.
The Broncos and Chiefs are familiar foes, having met on 111 other occasions. The Broncos are 35-21 at Home against Kansas City. The other thing they have in common are their similarities. Both run a ball control Offense and both have such stingy opportunistic Defenses that Turnovers will be a huge key to this game. Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak spoke about the Chiefs’ defensive backfield on Monday:
“The difference between good secondaries and great secondaries [is that] great secondaries, when they get their hands on the ball, they make you pay. Good secondaries knock balls down and you go to the next play. Well, this team makes you pay. They have a lot of great hands on the back end.”
Denver has won a franchise-record 28 consecutive games when winning the turnover battle to represent the longest active streak in the NFL. They have also scored a league-high 93 points off turnovers (38.9% of their overall point total).
Their 9 Defensive Touchdowns (6 INT ret./3 FUM ret.) since the start of the 2015 season (incl. playoffs) ranks 2nd in the League during that span.
The Denver Defense is fifth in the NFL in Sacks (29) but also has the most Quarterbacks Hits (81) through Week 11.
During the last five seasons, the Broncos have compiled a 26-8 (.765) overall record in AFC West Division play, representing the highest win percentage against their own division in the NFL during that span. Here’s why the Broncos win this week though:
They are 21-6 all-time in games following their Bye, including a 15-3 record at Home.
Denver has made an NFL-high 16 primetime appearances at home since 2011, with a 14-2 record in such games. They have outscored their opponents by 10 or more points per contest (29.4-18.9).
- KANSAS CITY looks for their 8th win in row vs. AFC West division opponents.
- QB ALEX SMITH threw for 261 yards and a TD while adding a rushing score in last week’s loss to Tampa Bay. Smith has a 100+ rating in his last 3 division road games and looks for his 15th division road game in row with 0 INTs.
- RB SPENCER WARE has 6 rushing TDs in the last 6 contests against the AFC West and ranks 3rd in the AFC with an average of 109 scrimmage yards per game.
- RB CHARCANDRICK WEST had 161 scrimmage yards (69 rush, 92 receiving) and 2 TDs (1 rush, 1 rec.) the last time KC and Denver met.
- Rookie WR TYREEK HILL has 187 receiving yards (93.5 per game) and a Touchdown in his last 2 Road games.
- TE TRAVIS KELCE had 108 receiving yards last week and is definitely a player that Denver needs to contain.
- DT CHRIS JONES had 2 QB Hits, 5 Hurries, and a batted pass last week and carries the sixth-best pass-rushing productivity among 3-4 Defensive Ends this season.
- LB JUSTIN HOUSTON has 5 Sacks in his last 3 games vs. Denver and has 50.5 Sacks since 2012, the 3rd-best ,mark in the NFL.
- S ERIC BERRY had an Interception and 4 Pass Breakups in the last meeting.
- CHIEFS DEFENSE had 5 Picks and 5 Sacks last time these two met.
- QB TREVOR SIEMIAN is 4-0 at home as starter and his seven wins are tied for 2nd-most by a Bronco Quarterback in his first nine starts with the team.
- Rookie RB DEVONTAE BOOKER looks for his 3rd Home game in a row with a rushing TD. Booker is 4th among rookies with 396 rushing yards.
- FB ANDY JANOVICH has a PFF grade of 84.2, the 3rd-best mark among Fullbacks. He hasn’t allowed a QB pressure in pass protection all season.
- WR JORDAN TAYLOR caught his 1st career Touchdown pass last week.
- OLB DeMARCUS WARE (136.5 career Sacks) will be making his 36th all-time appearance on Sunday Night—the most by any NFL player since the program made its debut in 2006. A Sack this Sunday would tie Richard Dent and John Randle for the 8th-most Sacks in NFL history and 3 Sacks to tie Julius Peppers and Jason Taylor for sixth.
- LB VON MILLER is vying for his 5th consecutive game against the Chiefs with a Sack. In the past 12 (incl. playoffs), Miller has 14.5 Sacks, 10 Tackles For Loss, 3 Forced Fumbles and an Interception. He is presently tied for 4th in NFL with 9.5 Sacks and is closing in on his fifth career 10-sack season.
- THE VONSTER needs a half sack to join Simon Fletcher as the only two Broncos to post five 10-sack seasons and Tie Bruce Smith (83 GP) for the 4th-fastest player to record 70 career Sacks.
- Since 2011 (incl. playoffs), Miller ranks 2nd in NFL with 76 sacks. Von has 8.5 career Sacks vs. KC
- Ranked 1st and 3rd respectively by Pro Football Focus,AQIB TALIB (90.8 overall grade) and CHRIS HARRIS JR. (87.2) are the best Cornerback tandem in the NFL right now, allowing less than 10 yards per catch and holding opposing QBs to just under a 54% Completion rate.
- HARRIS JR. needs an interception to become the 7th player to record multiple interceptions in each of the last six seasons.
- S DARIAN STEWART had 2 Interceptions and Recovered a Fumble in Week 10 against the Saints and still lost out to his own backup, rookie Justin Simmons, for the AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
- S T.J. WARD is 1 of 3 NFL Defensive Backs with 60 or more Tackles (66), one or more Interceptions (1) and one or more Sacks (1) in 2016. T.J. has had a hand in six of the Broncos 20 takeaways this season to rank 2nd in the NFL among defenders through Week 11.
- K BRANDON McMANUS has connected on 60-of-72 Field Goal attempts for an 83.3% Field Goal percentage to represent the best career mark in team history (min. 20 att.).
- WR DEMARYIUS THOMAS had a TD catch in the last meeting and has 41 catches, 661 yards and 3 TDs in the past 7 games vs. Kansas City. Thomas ranks 2nd in NFL with 457 catches since 2012.
- DEMARYIUS (33 career 100-yard rec. games) – Needs 100 receiving yards to tie Calvin Johnson (34) and Julio Jones (34) for the most 100-yard receiving games in the NFL since 2011. Here are a few of DT’s big days vs. KC.
7-122, 1 TD . . . . .Dec. 30, 2012, vs. Kansas City
5-121, 0 TD . . . . .Nov. 17, 2013, vs. Kansas City
8-116, 0 TD . . . . .Sept. 17, 2015, at Kansas City
3-106, 0 TD . . . . .Dec. 1, 2013, at Kansas City
WR EMMANUEL SANDERS has 2 TD catches in his last 2 games against Kansas City. Here are his best statistical days vs the Chiefs.
Emmanuel Sanders . . . . . . 8-108, 0 TD . . . . .Sept. 14, 2014, vs. Kansas City
Emmanuel Sanders . . . . . . 8-87, 2 TD . . . . . .Sept. 17, 2015, vs. Kansas City
Getting these two Wide Receivers involved early in the game on Sunday Night should be a primary goal for the Broncos Offense. With Trevor Siemian and Andy Janovich healthy, that aim should be easier than what we’ve seen recently. I’m counting on it.
The odds still have the Broncos favored by 3.5 points.
– Kaptain Kirk