1) Play with authority
I have witnessed bits and pieces of a killer mentality, sometimes the offense, sometimes the defense, sometimes one more than the other in a certain game, never both in the same game. Injuries have hindered this. For the 2013 Denver Broncos to take that next step to being an elite world-beater, both the offense and the defense have to play with a killer instinct. If the defense has played tight all game, don't allow anything in garbage time. Have a two or three-score lead on offense? Pile it on. Take it to these guys on their own turf and make sure there is no doubt to who the best team in the AFC is.
2) Play with physicality
Speaking directly to the offense right now. The line and the interior more specifically have found that nasty streak that opened up a lot of holes for Knowshon Moreno en route to his 200+ yard performance. The receivers and most specifically Eric Decker have to start playing up to their physical ability. You know what I see more often then not when I reviewed the Broncos passing game against NE? Demaryius eventually beating the press while Decker was being manhandled from snap to whistle. Right now Decker is the weakest link amongst our receiving corps and until he consistently beats press man coverage will be a liability going forward.
Quit looking for the M@#$%%^F#@$%% flag and go out and beat your man for the ball, gentlemen!
3) More of the same, except for supersonic speed
What will beat Kansas City's press man coverage are those rub routes, two man combinations with a go to clear out the flat for a 10 yard out. There are millions of ways to do it so set em up and knock em down.
A gimpy Hali and a missing Houston really limits what the Chiefs can do from a pass rushing perspective. Dontari Poe will have to collapse the pocket from the middle, and the Chiefs are going to have to take some chances with some exotic blitzes. That being said, there should be more time there for Peyton Manning to take advantage of the intermediate and play action passing game.
4) The weak links are
Eric Berry and Marcus Cooper. Berry met the acquaintance of Mr. Julius Thomas and found out just how smooth Orange Julius is. Berry made the mistake of playing outside leverage in the redzone giving the young phenom an easy touchdown on a quick slant. Most tight ends cannot run that route like a WR, Julius can and he provided matchup issues all game.
Remember when Marcus Cooper was the 2nd coming of Darrelle Revis? All it took was a half for Demaryius Thomas to exploit him vertically down the field for his stock to come tumbling down. The last two games he has allowed 12 receptions for 274 yards. Big play potential from the first snap.
5) Beware the vertical prowess of Alex Smith
Admittedly I had to step away from the computer and laugh my ass off for about five minutes after typing that. Alex Smith has found his inner (insert name of quarterbacks who throw the ball more than 10 yards downfield) the past couple of games. I think his shots downfield have had a sort of mesmerizing effect on opposing defenses. After the first one, secondaries are literally flabbergasted with a sense of "Holy Shit, did that just happen???" and by the time they recover the Chief offense has found the endzone.
I have an effective way to deal with it and have already distributed self help tapes to the Broncos secondary. With the soothing sounds of rain falling in the background, Bronco Mike has recorded his voice repeating the following phrase "yes he is Alex Smith, yes he can throw the ball downfield, this is not a hallucination, this event will occur."
I feel by getting the troops mentally prepared, their bounce back time from disbelief will be much shorter.
6) Beware the running prowess of Alex Smith
All about the read option. The Chiefs used it some in the 2nd half in the first meeting and it yielded good results. Our defense keyed on Charles and Smith had an easy path for a 1st down. End play must stay disciplined. If I were Kansas City, I would keep Denver in their base defense as much as possible and look to exploit the linebackers in coverage.
7) QUIT FUMBLING THE BALL!!!
I wish I could just blow off last weeks game as a cold weather affair that messed with both teams ability to hold on to the ball. In reality it was and both teams fumbled quite a bit.
To date this Broncos team has fumbled the ball 26 times which adds up to more than 2 occurrences per game.
Simply put, the Broncos go no where if they continue to put the ball on the ground.
Broncos 34 Chiefs 20
Old fashioned AFC West beat down. Sure it will probably be closer than that, but I say why not curbstomp the hopes and dreams of an opponent when you have a chance?
There is not enough here for me to see the game played out closely. Chiefs fans better hope Kansas City gets out to a fast start and keeps the crowd engaged because that is the only chance they have at staying competitive.
Want some in-depth analysis from the last meeting?
Read my summaries of the Broncos passing game vs. the Chiefs from the 1st and 2nd quarter of our last meeting: