Broncos Face Uphill Battle in Turkey Bowl
The path to success for the Broncos is the same every week. When they run the ball, control the clock, and avoid turnovers they win. Period. There are a few other keys, in my mind, to ensure the Broncos are 8-3 tomorrow, not 7-4.
Don't Give Up The Big Play -- The Chargers really took control of the game last Sunday when L.T. caught a 4 yard pass and ran 50 yards for a touchdown that turned a 10 point Bronco lead into a field goal lead in the middle of the 3rd quarter. The Chargers were able to score 2 touchdowns in a matter of 2:30 game time, which allowed the Chargers to get right back into a game the Broncos had under control. The Broncos cannot let the Chiefs do the same tonite. The Chiefs have really only one weapon on offense and the Broncos cannot let Larry Johnson have a L.T. type of game. Trent Green was asked to throw the ball only 16 times last week, his first game back from a bad concussion. The Broncos need to force Green to have to drive the field to get scores, keeping him in the line of fire for more plays than he wants to.
Special Teams Have To Step Up -- The Chiefs have another difference maker, Dante Hall, that the Broncos need to stop. The special teams have been far from special this year, and it was magnified last week when the Chargers were able to start 3 2nd half dirve from accross their own 40 after Broncos scores. The Broncos defense is alot more effective when they have a full field to work with, so kickoff coverage, and the punting of Paul Ernster will be key. If the Chiefs win the battle of field position, they win.
Which Plummer Shows Up? -- This is my biggest concern. If the rumors are right, and if Jake Plummer is essentially playing for his Bronco life, I am concerned about this game. Jake did play well in Pittsburgh when similar rumors were swirling, but listening to Jake yesterday it seems he might just be sick and tired of all the callings for his head. Jake is not the student of the game that Shanahan covets, and doesn;t have the drive and fire that Shanahan is looking for, and what might motivate a guy to step up in a tough place often forces Plummer to wilt. Jake needs to play well for the Broncos to have a cchance, but the guy I saw yesterday looks to have no desire to play well.
My Take -- I would love to sit here and tell you all the reasons the Broncos are going to win this game. I just don't feel that confident. Arrowhead is a tough place to play on any Sunday afternoon, let alone on Thanksgiving Night, the premier of what figures to be a new holiday tradition. Larry Johnson watched L.T. light up the Bronco defense, and the Chiefs defense plays at a different level at home. Ty Law has to be licking his chops knowing Jake Plummer is going to make a brutal mistake at some point. My heart says the Broncos will find a way, but my head knows what it has seen from Jake Plummer. Jake Plummer just cannot be the player that this team needs to be successful in a game like this. Sorry Bronco fans, I feel you pain and I think the end of the Jake Plummer era is upon us, and it won't be pretty...
Chiefs 20 - Broncos 10