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Denver Broncos Season Finale Preview - The Chiefs

Spencer Larson of the Denver Broncos carries the ball as Tamba Hali of the Kansas City Chiefs defends during the game on November 13, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Spencer Larson of the Denver Broncos carries the ball as Tamba Hali of the Kansas City Chiefs defends during the game on November 13, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Denver Broncos will play host to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in a New Year's Day matchup with a chance to clinch the AFC West Division. The 8-7 Broncos, tied for 1st place with the Oakland Raiders, are in a position to claim their 11th AFC West title if they can get past the 6-9 Chiefs. Kickoff for the game at Sports Authority Filed at Mile High is set for 2:15 p.m. MST.

Weather and Conditions

The game will be broadcast on CBS with Jim Nantz (play by play) and Phil Simms (color commentary) will be calling a Bronco game for the 3rd consecutive week. Check the Broadcast Map to see which games are available in your area this week. The Officiating will be done by referee Pete Morelli and his crew.

R Pete Morelli 135
U Fowler 71
HL Baltz 26
LJ Hussey 35
FJ Lucivansky 89
SJ Carlsen 39
BJ Vernatchi 75
RA Moore
VO Alexander

The weather forecast for the game calls for favorable conditions.

Partly Sunny
Temperature: 21/43f

For the current conditions, go here.

Injuries and external factors

The Chiefs really only have one injury that will affect Sunday's game. Running Back Jackie Battle, who was the leading rusher for Kansas City in Week 10, has an ankle injury and probably won't play since he was in a walking boot and labeled "Doubtful" on Wednesday. That leaves the trio of the aging Thomas Jones, shifty Dexter McCluster and Fullback Le'Ron McClain to split carries. Jones hasn't been a feature back for a few seasons, McCluster won't be used that way because of his size. The Chiefs can put him in better matchups suitable for his size and speed. Out of the three, McClain could possibly handle 20-25 carries on Sunday (he had 902 yards in 2008) if need be.


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
13.7 31st Points For 25th 25.7
312.8 25th Total Yds 23rd 362.9
193.7 25th Pass Yds 20th 235.3
119.1 12th Rush Yds 25th 127.7
33 16th Sacks T-7th 40
N/A N/A Forced Fumbles 23rd 11
18 24th Interceptions T-27th 9
36.20% 17th 3rd Downs 5th 33.50%
-14.60% 30th Overall DVOA 18th 6.30%
-3 20th Turnover Margin 27th -11
72 17th QB Hits Allowed N/A N/A

Matt Cassell is out for the season, leaving Kyle Orton in charge. He is 44/68 for 599 yds, a 64.7% Completion rate, 1 TD, 2 INT's and a 85.4 QB Rating since becoming the Chiefs starter two games ago. The Running Backs are Jackie Battle (149 carries, 597 yds, a 4.0 avg and 2 TD), Thomas Jones (138, 436 yds, 3.2 ypc), Dexter McCluster (102, 455 yds, 4.5 ypc and 43 Catches for 303 yds and 1 TD), and Fullback Le'Ron McClain (13, 47 yds, 1 TD and 14-82 yds and 1 TD Receiving).

The Wide Receivers are Dwayne Bowe (75 Rec, 1066 yds, 5 TD's), Steve Breaston (60-766 yds, 2 TD's), Keary Colbert (9-89 yds), Jonathan Baldwin (18-227, 1 TD),Terrance Copper (7-100 yds) and Jerheme Urban (4-35 yds). The Tight Ends are Leonard Pope (23-235 yds, 1 TD) and Jake O'Connell (7-52 yds).

The starters on the Kansas City Offensive Line are LT Branden Albert (6 False Start, 3 Hold, 5 Sacks Allowed), LG Ryan Lilja (1 Hold, 2 Sacks Allowed), C Casey Wiegmann (1 FSt, 1 Hold, 1.5 SA), RG Jon Asamoah (3 FS, 1 Hold, 3 SA) and RT Barry Richardson (5 FS, 2 Hold, 4.5 SA).


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

Chiefs Broncos
Defense Rank Category Rank Offense
22.3 20th Points Against 22nd 19.1
337.8 15th Total Yds 22nd 320.5
211.4 9th Pass Yds 31st 159.5
126.4 23rd Rush Yds 1st 161.1
27 27th Sacks 22nd 39
12 15th Forced Fumbles N/A N/A
19 6th Interceptions T-12th Least 13
34.90% 9th 3rd Downs 30th 31.10%
1.90% 14th Overall DVOA 23rd -3.90%
104/880 12th Penalties T-17th 95/793
N/A N/A QB Hits Allowed 23rd 64

The Chiefs Defensive Line is made up of LDE Tyson Jackson (50 TKL, 1 SK, 2 PBU), NT Kelly Gregg (34 TKL, 1 PBU,1 SK) and RDE Glenn Dorsey (55 TKL). Wallace Gilberry (9 TKL, 2 PBU, 2 SK, 2 FF) is also in the rotation.

The Linebacking corp has LOLB Justin Houston (49 TKL, 4 SK, 4 PBU, 1 FF) with Andy Studebaker (16 TKL, 1 FF) backing him up. The LILB is Jovan Belcher (82 TKL, 1 PBU) and Demorrio Williams (17 TKL) is in the #2 spot. At RILB, leading tackler Derrick Johnson (126 TKL, 2 SK, 9 PBU's, 2 INT, 1 FF) cleans things up and ROLB Tamba Hali (62 TKL, 12 SK, 4 FF) is the Chiefs pass rushing threat.

In the Defensive backfield LCB Brandon Flowers (56 TKL, 19 PBU's, 4 INT, 1 TD) and RCB Brandon Carr (43 TKL, 13 PBU's, 3 INT's) man the corners. Javier Arenas (29 TKL, 1 SK, 5 PBUs, 2 INT) and Travis Daniels (13 TKL, 3 PBU, 2 INT) is a seasoned backup.

Reshard Langford (10 TKL) has started the last 2 games at Strong Safety and Donald Washington (25 TKL, 1 PBU,1 FF) is the backup. The Free Safeties are Kendrick Lewis (57 TKL, 10 PBU's, 3 INT's, 1 TD) and Sabby Piscitelli (30 TKL, 1 PD, 1 FF).


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

Chiefs Rank Special Teams Rank Broncos
45.8 13th Punt-Avg(Gross) 5th 47.6
40 8th Punt-Avg (Net) 6th 40.4
12.1 6th Punt Ret-Avg 4th 12.7
11.4 13th PR-Avg Allowed 12th 11.6
21.3 30th Kick Ret-Avg 10th 24.5
24.2 T-16th KR-Avg Allowed 21st 24.6
24/29 18th FG Made/Att 29th 18/24
-0.20% 20th Overall DVOA 16th 0.50%

Kansas City Kicker Ryan Succop is 24/29 (82.8%) on his Field Goals this year. His longest this year was 54 yards. Ryan is 19/19 on Extra Points. He has Kicked off 57 times this season with 30 touchbacks. Opponents have ran back 23 kickoffs for a 24.5 yard average.

Dustin Colquitt has made 81 punts for a 45.8 average, a 40.0 Net and a long of 68 yards. He has placed 23 punts Inside the 20 yard line. 23 have been Fair Caught and the coverage unit has downed 16 of his punts. 34 have been returned for an average of 11.4 yards and 1 Touchdown.

Thomas Gafford has been the Chiefs Long snapper for the last 2 1/2 seasons. He has appeared in 56 career games and has 12 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 29 punt returns with a 13.4 yard average, while McCluster has returned 5 punts for a 9.4 average. On Kick returns, Dexter has 25 run backs for a 22.3 average and Javier has returned 17 Kickoffs an average of 21.3 yards.


The Chiefs lead this series 47-55-0 in the regular season. The last time these teams met was during Week 10 in Kansas City. The Broncos won that game 17-10 on the strength of a 56-yard touchdown pass from Tim Tebow to Eric Decker. They have split the series in each of the last 3 seasons since Denver swept in 2007. The Broncos won last years meeting in Denver on November 14, 2010 by the score of 49-29.

The line in Vegas has the Broncos favored by 3 points


This is a must win for Denver if they want to participate in the postseason tournament and start the year off in a high note.

Go Broncos!

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