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Broncos at Chiefs: The No Bull Preview

We have a short week and are heading into a meat grinder of a stadium with thousands upon thousands of screaming, crazed, playoff-starved fans. What should we look for in Week 2 from our Denver Broncos?

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports


This has the mark of one of the toughest games we'll face this season. Can our offense score against a great pass rushing defensive team? Can we get the run game going? Will our defense be able to stop the short passing game of the vaunted Kansas City Chiefs? It is going to be fun to watch for sure and is going to give us some great insight into our team for 2015.

The most likely outcome I see is a Denver team who is still finding their way on offense and has a juggernaut defense that can by itself win games. I think our hopes and dreams lay in the hands of our defense in this game and that is a comfortable place for me.

Broncos Offense vs Chiefs Defense

In the trenches

You have to give the edge here to the Kansas City Chiefs. They have superb pass rushers and solid linemen inside that can create problems for an offense (just ask Houston). KC fans had to like what they saw from Jay Howard inside. I'd take him on my team from the looks of week one.

You have to think Ryan Harris and Ty Sambrailo are going to have their hands full with Tamba Hali and Justin Houston outside. We didn't see much chip blocking against the Ravens, and I'm curious to see if we dial up more of that against a pair of better pass rushers.

The running game

The good news on this front is that the KC Chiefs are not the Baltimore Ravens when it comes to their run defense. KC is still good, but we should be able to get some better semblance of a run game going in week 2. Keep your eye on Ronnie Hillman in this game. Kubiak has had nothing but praise for a guy who from every look I've seen since the preseason is leaving it all on the field. Hillman has the kind of speed that can give the Chiefs problems in a big way.

The passing game

If Brian Hoyer can throw for 230 and a TD against the KC secondary, surely Peyton Manning can match it, right? That's the idea as we face another team that can get after the QB but has some suspect defenders in the secondary. The Chiefs have no one who plays as well as Jimmy Smith on the outside though. If the running game can get going, we should see good success in this area as well.

Broncos Defense vs Chiefs Offense

In the trenches

You really have to love Denver in this matchup. Watch for Kansas City to either go max protect a lot or dial up a ton of screens out in the flat as they try to get our pass rush to back down. It is going to be absolutely imperative that our linebackers be able to read these plays and hold them for no gain. If we do that, it sets everything else up for our defense.

The running game

Kansas City has a great tandem of backs in Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis. One of my favorite attributes of their team is that they run the ball well and have for years. Our defense is going to be tested to hold one of the best running backs in the NFL down as it is the key to KC's offense.

I think they will have success here with some misdirection type plays that hit big. Our defense is aggressive and susceptible to big play runs because of it. That's okay though. I can take the bad with the good.

The passing game

Speaking of which, I really like our matchup against KC's passing game. A big key is going to be how we cover Travis Kelce underneath. Unlike coordinators of our recent past, I expect Wade Phillips to find answers in bracket coverage or zone coverages designed to answer the biggest receiving weapon that KC has outside of Jeremy Maclin.

Speaking of that, I love our matchups with the outside wide receivers for KC. Alex Smith doesn't like to throw outside. We have great players outside who can excel at man coverage. I expect to see a lot of Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. on islands outside while we focus our efforts on shutting down the areas that Smith likes to throw to (inside the numbers and short).

Special Teams

KC has a pretty solid return game. It is going to be important for Denver to kick well with distance and hang time to keep them from making big gains in the return game.

On the flip side, I love our place kicking and give us the edge there. Look for Brandon McManus to keep showing Denver the goods but this time at sea level. It will be interesting to see how deep he kicks when he's not a mile high and very telling.


This game could go south on us in a very big way very easily. KC has the kind of defense that can cause you to get in a big hole early. Luckily they also have shown some vulnerability to comebacks. Denver is young in the transition to its new offense under Gary Kubiak. That being said, we still have better talent all around than Kansas City and by all intents and purposes should come home with the win.

Meaningless prediction: Denver 31, Kansas City 17.