Well folks, here we are in the 4th quarter of the season. The script read that the Denver Broncos were supposed to be strong in December, but then again, wasn't that November's plan too? The Broncos begin the yule season with a 3-8 record and are stuck in the bottom of the AFC West after a stinging loss to the St. Louis Rams. They begin a three-game road trip this week, traveling east to Kansas City for a game against the division leading Chiefs at Arrowhead stadium. Kansas City has a record of 7-4 and are coming of a 42-24 win over the Seahawks in Seattle. Follow the jump and see what the Kaptain has in store.
Weather and Conditions
Arrowhead Stadium a.k.a. "The Sea of Red", is the 25th largest stadium in North America and fourth largest NFL Stadium in seating capacity (81,425); behind Cowboys Stadium, New Meadowlands Stadium, and FedEx Field. Formerly consisting of AstroTurf, the playing surface was changed to grass during stadium upgrades in 1994. The League awarded the 49th Super Bowl in 2015 to Kansas City provided it have a climate controlled stadium.
The weather forecast on Sunday calls for
|Precip: 20%Spectator Index: 6|
Wind Impact: MEDIUM
For an up to the minute weather forecast, please visit here.
Injuries and external factors
CB Jackie Bates (knee) was the only Chief player not practicing this week and is doubtful for the game on Sunday.
CB Brandon Flowers is still limited with a hamstring injury. He was Inactive last week and will be a game time decision.
FS Jon McGraw was inactive last week with a head injury (read concussion). He has practiced in full for two straight days without any repercussions and ls probable for Sunday's game.
FS Kendrick Lewis was added to the Chiefs injury report on Thursday with an ankle injury that left him a limited participant in practice. Lewis has been active in each of the past two games, but missed the Chiefs previous meeting with the Broncos due to a hamstring injury. The Chiefs have a better record when Lewis is in the lineup.
TE Tony Moeaki returned for the Seattle game after missing time recovering from a concussion he suffered at the hand of Joe Mays on an Onside kick in the team's last game.
WR Dexter McCluster will return for the first time in over a month when Denver comes to visit this week. Dexter has missed five games because of a high ankle sprain suffered in the Jacksonville game on Oct. 24. He felt ready to go against Seattle last week but was held out in a coaches decision. McCluster was removed from the Injury List on Wednesday and confirmed that he’ll be back on the field against the Broncos.
Starting RG Ryan Lilja has been slowed by a foot injury and a banged up right thumb. He has been limited in practice but has only managed to miss one game this season.
Due to the attrition in the defensive backfield, the Chiefs brought back veteran free agent CB Mike Richardson and cut linebacker Justin Cole. Richardson attended training camp with the Chiefs this year, but was released prior to the start of the season.
These next sections will be briefly highlighted primarily with updated stats. For a more in depth look, please visit Upon Further Review - Week 10.
In the 2 weeks that have passed since the finger wagging incident, the Chiefs Offense has gained ground. They have gone from 11th to 4th in points with a 25.9 per game average. They have moved from 14th to 6th in Total yards (375.2), 30th to 25th in Passing yards (200.9) and still lead the league in rushing, with 174.3 yards per contest. They are 37.8% (56/148) on 3rd down conversions and 47% (8/17) on 4th downs. The Line has allowed 15 Sacks.
Matt Cassell is having a pretty good year with 22 TD's to a mere 4 INT ratio, a 60.4% Completion Rate and a QB Rating of 99.7. Jamaal Charles is over 1000 yards rushing on the season and Thomas Jones (712 yds) should get there as well, if he gets the touches. Dwayne Bowe has 885 yards and 14 TD's to lead the Chiefs. Bowe is on fire right now. He has caught 7 TD's in the last 3 games and has at least one in seven straight games, a Kansas City record.
Defensively, the Chiefs have regressed a little in the interim. They went from 8th to 13th in points against (21.0), 15th to 18th in Total points against (342.9) and 21st to 24th in Pass Defense (246.5). They have increased their run defense however, moving from 9th to 7th in that that area (96.5). Still, they only surrendered more than 90 yards to an opposing rusher once this year (Knowshon Moreno wk 10). They have 22 Sacks and allow their opponents a 35.7% 55/154) conversion rate on 3rd downs. They also have a +7 Turnover Ratio.
Inside Linebacker Derrick Johnson is the Chiefs leading tackler with 68 stops and 4 Forced Fumbles. Rookie SS Eric Berry has 47 tackles, 2.0 sacks and 1 FF. OLB Tamba Hali has gone three straight games without a sack and still has a total of eight sacks on the season. Brandon Flowers has 13 Pass Defensed and Brandon Carr has 12. Flowers, Berry and Jon McGraw each have 2 interceptions for Kansas City.
In the last two games since their meeting in Denver, the Chiefs Special Teams have had their moments. Ryan Succop is 1 for 2 on field Goals and had one blocked last week. Punter Dustin Colquitt has punted 9 times for an average of 49.2 yards, a long of 64. He has placed 4 Inside the 20, has 2 touchbacks and had 1 blocked and subsequently returned for a TD.
Javier Arenas has returned 5 punts an average of 6.2 yards. On kickoff returns, Terrance Copper has one return for 17 yards and Verran Tucker has returned one 15 yards.
The Coverage Units have been stingy in the last 2 contests, allowing a mere 3.7 yard average on 3 punts and a 17.7 yard average on 11 kickoffs. Eddie Royal will test this unit just as Dexter McCluster will test the Broncos cover team.
WR Verran Tucker continues to become a bigger part of the offense and special teams in the last month. Tucker has four catches for 86 yards and a touchdown and he's started the last two games opposite Dwayne Bowe. The rookie out of California has six tackles on special teams as well as a couple of kick returns.
THE LAST 2 WEEKS
The Cardinals didn't stand a chance in WEEK 11, as they paid a visit to "The Sea of Red." Two field goals and a touchdown with 3 seconds left was all they could muster as the Chiefs massacred them 31-13. Thomas Jones ran for two scores in between two touchdown passes from Matt Cassel to Dwayne Bowe to help Kansas City improve their overall record to 6-4. Kansas City got some help from the Cardinals’ weak offense, but the Chiefs played solid defense and good discipline. They only had 4 penalties in the game.
Bowe finished with six catches for 109 yards. Thomas Jones scored on runs of 1 and 3 yards.
The Cardinals only touchdown was a 3-yard catch by Larry Fitzgerald on the final play of the game.
Bowe got every yard in the drive for Kansas City's initial touchdown, first with a catch over the middle in which he fought to the 1. After two failed attempts to punch it in on the ground, he got open in the end zone for the scoring pass from Cassel.
Cassel converted twice on third down in a third-quarter drive, hitting Jamaal Charles for 11 yards on one play and connecting with Bowe for 14 yards on third-and-3 from the 43. Charles got loose on a 39-yard run to set up Jones' second TD.
With 4:20 left in the game, Bowe got open in the secondary, caught the ball at the 18, twisted away from tacklers and danced into the end zone. But unlike past years, he did not celebrate.
Matt Cassel was 15 of 24 for 193 yards and the Offensive Line didn't give up a sack. Derek Anderson was 25 of 46 for 295 yards and was sacked twice. There were no turnovers in the game.
Coming off their win over the Cardinals the Chiefs flew to Qwest Field in WEEK 12 to play the Seattle Seahawks. Matt Cassel tossed three touchdown passes to Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles rushed for 173 yards as the Chiefs rolled to a 42-24 win.
In the first quarter, the Chiefs took the lead with QB Matt Cassel getting a 7-yard TD pass to WR Dwayne Bowe. Ryan Succop had a 43 yard field goal blocked, but the Seahawks failed to convert. Still, KC didn't keep the lead very long. The next series, Dustin Colquitt's punt was blocked and returned 10 yards for a touchdown by Earl Thomas for Seattle's only score of the first half. The Seahawks were limited to a mere 71 yards in the first half. They didn't even get a first down until midway through the second quarter.
Kansas City retook the lead on Shaun Smith's 1-yard TD dive, followed by a Cassel to Bowe TD hookup of 36-yards. Seattle narrowed that lead on kicker Olindo Mare's 43-yard field goal, followed by Matt Hasselbeck getting a 13-yard scoring strike to TE Chris Baker. The Chiefs pulled ahead with RB Jamaal Charles 3-yard TD run, followed by Cassel throwing to Bowe on a 9-yard TD pass. The Seahawks responded when Hasselbeck completed an 87-yard TD pass to WR Ben Obomanu, but the Chiefs increased their lead as Cassel got a 6-yard TD pass to TE Tony Moeaki. Kansas City outscored the Seahawks 21-7 in the final stanza.
Cassel didn't post a lot of yardage, but his 129.3 passer rating and his four touchdown passes were very efficient. He also had very good protection as his Linemen didn't allow any sacks. Matt has three games this season with a passer rating above 120 and has really been comfortable.
Dwayne Bowe (13 catches) had a touchdown in his seventh straight game, a team record. The pair hooked up on TDs of 7, 36 and 9 yards. This guy should be a heavy favorite for Comeback Player of the Year. After playing the nonchalant diva, getting in the coaches doghouse and receiving a 4-game suspension (for PED's) by the league last season, Bowe has returned with all workman-like this year. He spent the off-season at Larry Fitzgerald's workout camp, emerging with a better attitude and it has really paid dividends.
Jamaal Charles was virtually unstoppable, picking up 7.9 yards a touch. Thomas Jones ran it 20 times and broke loose for a couple nice runs. Charles added a 3-yard TD run on the first play of the 4th quarter. Backup defensive tackle Shaun Smith had a 1-yard TD plunge in the first half, "Refrigerator Perry" style.
The Chiefs ended up with a total 270 yards on the ground, including 68 from Thomas Jones and a scrambling 28 yards from Cassel. The Chiefs allowed 20 rushing yards to Seattle, an average of just 1.7 yards per carry. They had 12 running plays and six went for zero yards or minus-yardage. Only two runs were longer than four yards.
Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns, but was picked off twice. The absence of starting CB Brandon Flowers had an affect. The Chiefs secondary had trouble with Seattle WR Ben Obomanu, who had 159 yards and a TD. However, they did get three turnovers as well as two sacks.
The Chiefs were able to keep Seattle returner Leon Washington under control, but overcoming a blocked field goal and a blocked punt returned for a TD makes a statement that the offense and defense played pretty well. Generally, if a team blocks a punt, they end up with the win.
This will be 800th game in the Broncos franchise history. Denver won the most recent meeting between the two squads at Arrowhead by a 44-13 margin last December. The Broncos haven’t won back-to-back games in KC since taking four straight from ’76-79. The Chiefs have won 14 of the last 20 regular season meetings between these two clubs at Arrowhead, including 11 of the last 15 contests. These two division rivals have split their season series six of the last seven seasons. Kansas City will try to avoid being swept by the Broncos for the first time since 2007 when the Broncos registered a 27-11 win at Arrowhead and a 41-7 romp at INVESCO Field.
- In their last match-up, the Broncos beat the Chiefs 49-29, in week 10.
- The Chiefs still lead the series 54-46.
- The Chiefs are 12-2 against Denver at Arrowhead Stadium in the month of December.
- Las Vegas odds have the Chiefs by 8.5 points
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Chiefs are the only squad that has surrendered 20 points or less in all of their home contests. They are 5-0 at Home this year and looking for 6. The Ravens, Falcons and Patriots are the only other teams without a loss at home this season. After the eventful way the Week 10 game between the Broncos and Chiefs ended, you can be sure the hostilities will rekindle. Expect a steady dose of the NFL's leading rushing attack to loosen up the Bronco secondary and long shots to Dwayne Bowe, who Matt Cassel has found for 14 of his 22 touchdowns. Dexter McCluster's return could have an effect in the Return game also. If Karma has anything to do with football, Kansas City will run the score as high as they can. By Sunday afternoon, I have a feeling Josh McDaniels will be giving Todd Haley the finger.