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Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs: First look

The Denver Broncos (1-0) take on the Kansas City Chiefs (0-1) in Week 2. Let's see who's hot, who's not, and take a first look at matchups.

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Kansas City Chiefs


Record: 0-1
Streak: Lost 1
All-time vs. Denver: 56-51-0     
Last time: Broncos 35, Chiefs 28, 12/1/13
The Line: Broncos by 12.5. More NFL odds.

The Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs have a storied rivalry, with Sunday's Week 2 matchup representing their 108th all-time meeting. But the tide of that rivalry is beginning to turn to Denver's favor; after sweeping the Chiefs for two straight seasons, the Broncos have almost tied the all-time series up. That is is remarkable considering the huge blowout losses Denver used to suffer at the hands of the Chiefs in the early AFL days.

The Broncos-Chiefs rivalry also boasts one of the best home-team advantages in pro football. The Broncos are 34-20 at home against the Chiefs, and the Chiefs are 36-17 when they host Denver. Throw records and expectations out the window; this is a division rivalry where anything can happen.

Who's Hot?

Chiefs WR Donnie Avery. With Dwayne Bowe suspended, Avery was QB Alex Smith's favorite target in Week 1, the recipient of a whopping 13 targets. He turned that into seven catches for 84 yards without a drop and played in every Chiefs snap but two. Here's the kicker: Dwayne Bowe is back this week, meaning the Broncos are tasked with covering one wide receiver coming off a hot game and another ready to make his 2014 debut.

Who's Not?

Chiefs QB Alex Smith. Smith's stat-line from their Week 1 game against the Titans (at home!) reads like a horror novel. Smith went 19 of 35 for 202 yards (5.8 avg.) with one TD, three interceptions, and four sacks. His QB rating was 45.2; his ESPN QBR (out of 100) was 11.3. That's bad. Compare that to Peyton Manning's stat line, who many Broncos fans (legitimately) say had a bad day: a 79.8 QBR and a 111.9.

My point is that there are different flavors of "bad," and while Peyton Manning wasn't "good," he wasn't "Alex Smith."

Matchups to Watch

Jamaal Charles vs. the world. Charles only got 11 touches last week. 11. Coach Andy Reid couldn't even explain how that happened; it was one of the worst gameplans (or executions of a gameplan) in his storied NFL career. Which means you can bet the Chiefs will be looking to get Charles plenty involved vs. the Broncos in Week 2.

Linebackers Nate Irving and Brandon Marshall will lead the run-coverage charge for the Broncos with a healthy helping of T.J. Ward. The stats show the Broncos did okay against the run (allowing a 3.9 average vs. the Colts), but that was against Trent Richardson. If Jamaal Charles finds his groove, it will be tough sledding for the Broncos defense.

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