Broncos - Chiefs Game Preview

Chris Harris #25 of the Denver Broncos celebrates after making his first career interception last week against the Oakland Raiders in the Black Hole. Will he get his second INT this week? (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos travel east on the second leg of a two game road trip for their first seasonal matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs. Denver is 3-5 and coming off of a much needed victory over the Oakland Raiders. They remain in last place in the AFC West division, but remarkably only one game out of 1st place at the halfway mark. The Chiefs are 4-4 and one of the 3 teams ahead of the Broncos in the division. Last week, the Miami Dolphins walked all over the Chiefs to claim their 1st win this season, 31-3. Denver usually has a hard time in Kansas City, but it seems like the Chiefs are in a funk right now and the timing couldn't be much better for a visit to the Sea of Red.

Weather and Conditions


The game is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011 @ 11 a.m. MST. It will be broadcast nationally on CBS. You can check the Regional Telecast map for the games in your area. Bill Macatee will do the play by play and Steve Tasker will add the color commentary.  Arrowhead Stadium is an open air venue that has a natural grass surface and seats 79,451 fans.

Here is the weather forecast for the game:

Bkn
Partly Sunny
Temperature: 47/67f


Please visit this site for the current conditions.

 Injuries and external factors


The Chiefs lost starters TE Tony Moeaki, S Eric Berry, RB Jamaal Charles, LB Brandon Siler, OT Ryan O’Callaghan and this year's 5th round pick LB Gabe Miller to Injured Reserve. It looks like S Jon McGraw will play this week, which shores up the Defensive backfield. DB  Javier Arenas will probably be a game time decision because of a bad ankle. LB 
Demorrio Williams (Groin) will not play.

The Broncos will be without leading tackler LB Wesley Woodyard and CB Cassius Vaughn may not play either, but other than that, these two teams are healthy.

OFFENSE

This chart represents the Rankings for the Chiefs Offense as compared to the Broncos Defense. I have also included last week's rankings for the Broncos so you can see progress or regress. The DVOA stat is taken from Football Outsiders and is explained here.

Chiefs       Broncos  
Offense Rank Category Rank Defense Last Week
16.4 26th Points For 31st 28 31st
312.8 24th Total Yds 22nd 373.5 20th
189.5 27th Pass Yds 23rd 258 19th
123.2 10th Rush Yds 15th 115.5 17th
18 14th Sacks T-11th 20 T-12th
11 T-15th Forced Fumbles T-18th 6 N/A
9 19th Interceptions T-21st 6 T-28th
40.40% 12th 3rd Downs 16th 39.30% 18th
-14.20% 29th Overall DVOA 17th 8.20% 22nd
-1 T-17th Turnover Margin T-23rd -5 T-30th
33 26th QB Hits Allowed N/A N/A N/A

 

Matt Cassell leads the Chiefs. He is 147/241 for 1620 yds, a 61.0% Completion rate, 9 TD's, 9 INT's and a 77.8 QB Rating this season. The Running Backs are Jackie Battle (78 carries, 342 yds, a 4.4 avg and 1 TD), Thomas Jones (66, 200 yds, 3.0 ypc), Dexter McCluster (55, 246 yds, 4.5 ypc and 23 Catches for 95 yds), and Fullback Le'Ron McClain (16 yds, 1 TD and 7-44 yds Receiving). 

The Wide Receivers are Dwayne Bowe (39 Rec, 646 yds, 4 TD's), Steve Breaston (29-450 yds, 2 TD's), Keary Colbert (9-89 yds), Jonathan Baldwin (7-108, 1 TD),Terrance Copper (1-9 yds) and Jerheme Urban (1-6 yds). The Tight Ends are Leonard Pope (13-97 yds, 1 TD) and Jake O'Connell (4-30 yds).


The starters on the Kansas City Offensive Line are LT Branden Albert (4 False Start, 1 Hold, 4 Sacks Allowed), LG Ryan Lilja (1 Sack Allowed), C Casey Wiegmann (1 Hold, 0.5 SA), RG Jon Asamoah (2 FS, 1 Hold, 1 SA) and RT Barry Richardson (2 FS, 1.5 SA).

The Chiefs have been hot and cold in the scoring department. When they score 21 points, they win. The problem is, they have been either scoring 3 touchdowns or 3 points. They run the ball well and their O-Line has been good, only allowing 13 Sacks up until last week. The Dolphins Sacked Matt Cassel 5 times and forced him out of the pocket on nine other occasions on Sunday. The Broncos Defense has been trending upward while the Chiefs Offense is suspect. 

DEFENSE

This chart represents the Rankings for the Chiefs Defense as compared to the Broncos Offense.

Chiefs Broncos
Defense Rank Category Rank Offense Last Week
25.1 26th Points Against 21st 21.4 23rd
370.8 21st Total Yds 20th 318.8 27th
250.5 21st Pass Yds 31st 171.2 30th
120.3 19th Rush Yds 5th 147.5 8th
9 32nd Sacks 26th 24 24th
6 T-18th Forced Fumbles T-7th 14 N/A
13 T-3rd Interceptions T-15th 8 T-11th
39.60% 18th 3rd Downs 24th 33.30% 21st
8.70% 19th Overall DVOA 24th -7.80% 28th
54/455 T-15th Penalties 27th 46/416 T-30th
N/A N/A QB Hits Allowed 10th 41 18th

The Chiefs Defensive Line is made up of LDE Tyson Jackson (20 TKL, 2 PBU), NT Kelly Gregg (23 TKL, 1 PBU,1 SK) and RDE Glenn Dorsey (29 TKL). Wallace Gilberry (4 TKL, 1 PBU, 1 SK, 1 FF) is also in the rotation.

The Linebacking corp  has LOLB Justin Houston (21 TKL, 1 PBU) with Andy Studebaker (11 TKL, 1 FF) backing him up. The LILB is Jovan Belcher (44 TKL, 1 PBU) and Demorrio Williams (15 TKL) is in the #2 spot. At RILB, leading tackler Derrick Johnson (62 TKL, 1 SK, 5 PBU's, 1 INT) takes cleans things up and ROLB Tamba Hali (35 TKL, 6 SK, 1 FF) is the Chiefs pass rushing threat.

In the Defensive backfield LCB Brandon Flowers (37 TKL, 15 PBU's, 4 INT, 1 TD) and RCB Brandon Carr (27 TKL, 5 PBU's, 2 INT's) man the corners. Javier Arenas (13 TKL, 1 PBU) is coming off an Ankle injury and and Travis Daniels (5 TKL, 1 PBU, 1 INT) is a seasoned backup.

The Strong Safeties are the oft-injured Jon McGraw (33 TKL, 4 PBU's, 1 FF) and Donald Washington (17 TKL, 1 PBU,1 FF). The Free Safeties are Kendrick Lewis (30 TKL, 4 PBU's, 3 INT's, 1 TD) and Sabby Piscitelli (21 TKL, 1 FF). There is no doubt that the Chiefs miss Eric Berry at the Safety position, especially with McGraw's weekly injury status. Kendrick Lewis is coming into his own and the two Brandon's are a good tandem at Cornerback.

The Chiefs Defense, outside of Tamba Hali, doesn't get many Sacks. What they do get is Interceptions. That should be okay though, since the 5th ranked rushing Offense plans a double dose of the Read Option that was successful last week in the Black Hole. You can expect a few wrinkles, but until someone stops the Tebow-McGahee Express, the Broncos will continue to employ it.

SPECIAL TEAMS

This chart represents the Rankings for both teams Special Teams Units.

Chiefs Special Teams Broncos Last Week
46.7 Punt-Avg(Gross) 49.8
41.3 Punt-Avg (Net) 43.1
14.5 Punt Ret-Avg 17.1
10.4 PR-Avg Allowed 9.5
23 Kick Ret-Avg 25.6
20 KR-Avg Allowed 23.6
13/14 FG Made/Att 8/12
1.50% 10th Overall DVOA 8th 2.20% 11th

 

Kansas City Kicker Ryan Succop is 11/14 (78.6%) on his Field Goals this year. His longest this year was 54 yards. Ryan is 14/14 on Extra Points. He has Kicked off 32 times this season with 23 touchbacks. Opponents have ran back 9 kickoffs for a 20 yard average.

Dustin Colquitt has made 43 punts for a 46.7 average, a 41.3 net and a long of 68 yards. He has placed 11 Inside the 20. 13 have been Fair Caught and the coverage unit has downed 8 of his punts. 20 have been returned for an average of 10.4 yards.


Thomas Gafford has been the Chiefs Long snapper for the last 2 1/2 seasons. He has appeared in 41 career games and has 10 Tackles and a Fumble Recovery on Special Teams.

Javier Arenas and Dexter McCluster have both been used as return men for the Chiefs. Arenas has 13 punt returns with a 15.1 yard average, while McCluster has returned 3 punts for a 12.0 average. On Kick returns, Dexter has 16 run backs for a 23.8 average and Javier has returned 9 Kickoffs an average of 23 yards.

These two Special Teams Units are matched pretty evenly. Matt Prater has a greater range than Succop and right now, Britton Colquitt edges out his brother Dustin for family bragging rights, especially since he is leading the AFC with a 43.1-yd. net punt average that is on pace to rank as 4th-best mark in NFL in 35 years. The coverage and return units are close enough to be a wash. The Chiefs have historically played well on Special Teams.

SERIES HISTORY


The Chiefs lead this series 46-55-0. The last time these teams met was on December 5, 2010 in Kansas City. The Chiefs won that game 10-6. They have split the series in each of the last 3 seasons since Denver swept in 2007. The Broncos last win in Kansas City was on December 6, 2009 with a score of 44-13.

The line in Vegas has the Chiefs favored by 3 points.


THE BOTTOM LINE

This is a winnable game for Denver. If they build on their success from last week and stay hungry, they could very well come away with a win. On the other hand, the Broncos have always had a hard time when they visit Arrowhead and the Chiefs are trying to bounce back from an embarrassing game last week. I believe that the winner will be whichever team is better prepared. 


Go Broncos!                    


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