First Look: Kansas City Chiefs

Jamie Squire

It's strength vs. strength this Sunday as the NFL's fiercest defense faces its most explosive offense and the Kansas City Chiefs travel to Denver to face the Broncos.

Kansas City Chiefs

KC

Record: 9-0
Streak: Won 9
All-time vs. Denver: 56-49-0
Last time: Broncos 38 vs. Chiefs 3 (12/30/12)
The Line: Broncos by 8.5

It's strength vs. strength, defense vs. offense, the NFL's fiercest pass rush vs. its most explosive pass offense. It's winner vs. winner, the highest winning percentage between two teams this late in the season in over 40 years. It's a game where the AFC West title is potentially on the line; the top seed in the Conference could be as well. It's Justin Houston, Peyton Manning, Tamba Hali, Demaryius Thomas, Dontari Poe, Wes Welker, Jamaal Charles, and Knowshon Moreno.

It's Broncos vs. Chiefs, and outside of the playoffs, it's never been bigger. Here's your first look at Denver's Week 11 opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs.

Who's hot

OLB Tamba Hali. Hali is edged by teammate Justin Houston in the sack department, as well as PFF grade, where Houston is one of the NFL's best. But this isn't "Who's best," it's "Who's hot", and Hali has come on strong of late while Houston's impact has cooled. Just a week ago Hali returned a fumble for a Chiefs game-sealing touchdown, and while Houston started the season incredibly strong, he has only had 3.5 sacks since Week 3. As teams have turned their attention to Houston, Hali has feasted, tallying eight sacks in that same six-week span.

Who's not

QB Alex Smith. Things were looking dire when the Chiefs were about to go down two scores to the Buffalo Bills in Week 9, especially since their quarterback had yet to show the ability to dig his team out of a hole. He didn't dig them out Sunday either, as the Chiefs relied on two defensive touchdowns to turn the tide instead. Alex Smith has only thrown for two touchdowns and 969 yards in his last five games (192.4 average), suggesting the Chiefs might have to rely on more points off turnovers to down the score-happy Broncos.

Matchup to Watch

OLBs Tamba Hali and Justin Houston vs. OTs Chris Clark and Orlando Franklin. Without a doubt, this will be the matchup to watch, as the Chiefs' edge rushers are the most fearsome unit in the league. Hali will be licking his chops with particular fervor against backup LT Chris Clark, who has been up-and-down in Ryan Clady's absence. Hali and Houston have combined for 20 sacks this season, and with Peyton Manning hobbled with ankle troubles, protecting Peyton will be of the utmost importance.

Stick around Mile High Report all week long for film studies, statistical analyses, and many more in-depth looks at Denver's Week 11 opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs. What is your Matchup to Watch? Do the Broncos have what it takes to down the undefeated Chiefs?

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