Kansas City Chiefs (3-5 SU, 3-5 ATS) vs. Denver Broncos (7-1 SU, 5-3 ATS)
NFL Week 10
Date/Time: Sunday, November 15, 2015 at 4:25PM EST
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado
by Scott, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: KC +7/DEN -7
Over/Under Total: 41.5
The Kansas City Chiefs face the Denver Broncos in a key AFC West battle on Sunday afternoon. The Broncos lost their first game of the season on Sunday, 27-24, to the Colts. They look to get back on the right track this week against the Chiefs, who scored a pair of consecutive wins before heading into the bye week. Before their break, the Chiefs battered the Lions, 45-10, and have some momentum for the first time this season.
Kansas City has been through some painful moments this season, none more than their first game with the Broncos at Arrowhead, where the Broncos scored two touchdowns in the final 30 seconds of the game to steal a win. KC should be looking to atone for that this week and theyve managed to lend some credibility to their efforts with the two wins against the Steelers and Detroit going into the bye.
In addition to some of the woes the Chiefs have incurred in their games, they also lost their best playmaker in RB Jamaal Charles. Chandarick West was brought in to replace him and while early receipts were dicey, he has rushed for 207 yards in his last two games and thats been a big part of the Chiefs recent spurt. Alex Smith has been playing well and working nicely with WR Jeremy Maclin and TE Travis Kelce. Smith has not thrown a pick in the last 5 games. And while the offensive line has done well in opening holes for West in the past two games, they need to be better in the area of pass-protection, with Smith absorbing 28 sacks this season.
For the Chiefs to make a real move this season or to at least have a strong second half, the defense will need to reclaim some of its former status. The past few weeks were a good sign. They have not given up more than 18 points in over a month. Against a Denver offensive line that has been looking increasingly suspect, the strong KC front could make an impact. Theyve been rushing the passer better and securing turnovers and more of that will have them in good stead on Sunday.
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On one hand, teams lose, so you cant take Denver to task for falling short against a Colts team that was really hungry for a win on Sunday. The manner of the defeat was disconcerting, with a late comeback falling flat as a result of the cavalierness of Aqib Talib and some costly penalties late, one particularly bad personal foul eye-poke that will have him sitting out this week. After falling behind 17-0, they came back and made a game of it. Omar Bolden scored a TD on a long punt return just before halftime. Manning connected with Emanuel Sanders on a long TD pass and a touchdown pass to Owen Daniels made it close, before the comeback petered out in most upsetting of fashions. But before we feel inclined to give the Broncos a hard time, there are a lot of teams that would love to be 7-1.
Manning is 3 yards short of the all-time passing record, which he will break early in Sundays game. He has more interceptions than touchdowns and has thrown a pick in every game this season. The O-line is languishing in recent weeks, curbing the run game in the process. Denver has been forced to rely on the leagues top-ranked defense and the aerial attack, along with big special teams plays.
Denver gave up a season-high in points on Sunday with 27. The defense plays better when not being hung out to dry by a struggling offense. But its funny what one loss will do, when you compare the feeling of the Broncos now, as opposed to when they smashed the Packers last week. But at the same time, if the Broncos are going to really forge something special this season, they may not be able to rely on defense. Manning will need to play better and the run-game will need to start producing
The Broncos had seamlessly morphed into their new identity under new head coach Gary Kubiak. Rather than relying on the high-flying passing attack with Manning, they became a defensively-inclined team that can run the ball, with Manning assuming less of a role. But to think that there will never be growing pains with this system or that it would always go off without a hitch is not plausible. And if the defense is less-than-premier, teams should be able to hang in there with Denver.
This might be tougher on the Chiefs with Denver losing on Sunday than if they just came into this game at 8-0. The Broncos will be looking to avoid consecutive losses and the Chiefs could be getting in the way this week. But Kansas City was ultra-competitive with Denver the first time around and should have won. And now, they actually have some good momentum. With the bye week having just taken place, the Chiefs newfound inertia has gone under-the-radar. Some have already buried the Chiefs mentally, but that could be a mistake.
Denver is back at home, where they are better. Its still not an easy place to play, even for teams like the Chiefs that are accustomed to playing there. This is Kansas Citys first road game in nearly a month and its a tough spot. But this game still comes across as one that should be close. Im taking the points.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Kansas City Chiefs plus 7 points.
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