The Denver Broncos at 8 and 3 enter week 13 of the NFL season needed a win just to keep pace with the New England Patriots in the race for home field advantage in the AFC. The Patriots enter the week up a game in the conference at 9 and 2. The Kansas City Chiefs are just hoping to take over a share of first place in the AFC West. with a win this evening the 7 and 4 Chiefs can pull even with the Broncos in the division. This will be the second meeting for the two teams this season. The Broncos won the first meeting back in mid September 24 to 17. The first meeting was a home game for Denver who is unbeaten at home this season with all three of their losses coming on the road.
The Chiefs come in to the night following a rough week after finding out that popular teammate Safety Eric Berry will miss the remainder of the season, being placed on the non football injury list. Berry had felt pain in his chest during the Chiefs game on the 20th that turned out to be a mass believed to be lymphoma. Said Barry of his health issue, "I understand that right now I have to concentrate on a new opponent.". He went on to say, "I have great confidence in the doctors and the plan they are going to put in place for me to win this fight. I believe that I am in God's hands and I have great peace in that.".
The Chiefs possess one of the best defenses in the NFL but their defensive weakness is defending the run game. After 11 games this season the Kansas City Chiefs are giving up an average of 129.4 yards per game on the ground. Last week the Chiefs were beaten by an awful Oakland Raiders team that had entered the night as the lone win-less team left in the NFL for the season. The Chiefs gave up 179 yards on the ground to the Oakland Raiders including a 90 yard rush for a score by Latavius Murray. The Chiefs lost the game in the final two minutes of the game on a Derek Carr pass to James Jones for a final score of 24 to 20.
The good news for the Chiefs coming in to tonight's game is that their strength on defense matches up well with Denver's strength on offense. Kansas city is ranked first in yards allowed in the passing game, giving up and average of only 189.9 yards per game. Denver comes in to the game ranked second, only behind the Colts, averaging 316.3 yards per game though the air. The Chiefs have not given up 300 yards through the air since mid December of the 2013 season. Peyton manning on the other hand has gone over 300 yards passing in six of his last nine contests. The Chiefs also lead the NFL in sacks with 31 and boast the NFL leader in sacks, outside linebacker Justin Houston.
The Broncos hope the emergence of running back C.J. Anderson pays dividends in their game against the Chiefs. Not only will it provide Denver with something they have lacked for much of the season, balance, but it will also allow them to attack the weakness of the Kansas City defense. Denver ranks in the bottom half of the NFL rushing the ball at an even 100 yards a game but dedicated themselves to the run game last week putting up 201 yards against a Dolphins defense that is normally very stout against the run. C.J. Anderson in his break out game against Miami accounted for 167 of the Broncos 201 yards. Anderson has also rushed for 473 yards in Denver's previous three games.
In Denver's passing game, starting quarterback Peyton Manning has been a tale of two quarterbacks when playing at home Vs. playing in away games. Manning has 21 touchdowns and only two interceptions at home to go along with a stellar 130.4 passer rating. When playing away games this season he has 13 touchdowns with 7 interceptions and a much lower 91.5 passer rating. Away games appear to be where having a more balance game on offense will help the Broncos the most by taking some of the pressure off of Manning. Also possibly making things more difficult this week on Manning will be the fact that one of his favorite targets and the Broncos leader in touchdown receptions, tight end Julius Thomas is questionable and may miss tonight's game.
The Bronco's will also be starting a new kicker this week after waiving kicker Brandon McManus following the Dolphins game where Brandon missed 33 yard field goal. Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Connor Barth beat out former Dolphins and NFL journeyman kicker Jay Feely for the full time kicking job this week. Barth will be kicking for the first time since the 2012 season after missing all of 2013 with a torn Achilles tendon. Barth is a career 84.2 percent kicker.
- TIME: Sunday, November 30th 8:30 PM EST
- LOCATION: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
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