Jamaal Charles didn’t go crazy against the Broncos a few weeks ago, but he did rush 16 times for 78 yards, an average of 4.9 yards per carry. He’s also coming off his best game of the season against San Diego, so there’s a chance he and his offensive line are really settling into in a groove. Jamaal Charles didn’t go crazy against the Broncos a few weeks ago, but he did rush 16 times for 78 yards, an average of 4.9 yards per carry. He’s also coming off his best game of the season against San Diego, so there’s a chance he and his offensive line are really settling into in a groove. Throw in defensive lineman Derek Wolfe’s illness and the season-ending injury to defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, one of the Broncos’ most reliable run stuffers, and the Chiefs could make some hay here.
|Chiefs’ top rusher||No.||Yds.||Avg.||TD|
Alex Smith threw for two touchdowns and connected on a few downfield passes the last time against Denver. But he only completed 21 of 45 passes and was sacked three times, and while the Chiefs managed to contain star pass rusher Von Miller, they struggled to corral his counterpart at outside linebacker, Shaun Phillips. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is questionable because of a shoulder injury, but it looks like veteran cornerback Champ Bailey — who has only played two games all season — is ready to return from a sprained foot.
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|Chiefs’ top WR||No.||Yds.||Avg.||TD|
Knowshon Moreno tore up the Patriots last week for 224 yards in 37 carries, but the Chiefs did a much better job of containing him, as he rushed for only 79 yards in 27 carries. He will likely play despite a bone bruise in his right ankle, and the Broncos need him; his primary backups, Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman, have battled fumble problems.
|Broncos’ top rusher||No.||Yds.||Avg.||TD|
This is where the Broncos really made the Chiefs pay the first time around. Peyton Manning wasn’t his typical masterful self — he only completed 24 of 40 passes — but he made a handful of gorgeous throws as the Broncos tore the Chiefs up both long and short. The play of cornerback Marcus Cooper will be big; Manning and San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers have picked on him the last few weeks. The Chiefs have also failed to generate much of a pass rush the last two games, something that won’t get any easier with Justin Houston out because of an elbow injury.
|Broncos’ top QB||C||A||Yds.||TD-I|
|Broncos’ top WR||No.||Yds.||Avg.||TD|
Denver kicker Matt Prater has only missed one field goal all season while punter Britton Colquitt is also in the midst of a nice season. The same can be said about Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop and punter Dustin Colquitt, but the fact Denver has two return touchdowns to the Chiefs’ one gives them the slightest edge.Coaching EDGE >> CHIEFS
Despite a slight mishap a week ago — when he called a timeout prematurely instead of letting the play clock run down, thus giving San Diego more time to mount a game-winning drive — Andy Reid’s game-management skills have been solid this season. He gets the edge over interim Broncos coach Jack Del Rio, though this game will largely fall on the adjustments Reid’s defensive coordinator, Bob Sutton, can make in the rematch against Manning.X-factor EDGE >> CHIEFS
The game is a sellout, and Arrowhead Stadium will be rocking. If the crowd does its thing, it could have an effect on all those little calls Manning likes to make before each snap. Manning also looked somewhat ordinary in the cold against the Patriots last week. It’s something worth keeping an eye on this time around.Bottom line: Broncos 31-24
Expect the Chiefs to run the football and really try to set the tone with their physicality on both sides of the ball. They should have some success, too; the staff has the film from the first game and they should make some necessary adjustments. It probably won’t be enough to win — the injury to Justin Houston is a killer — but it should be close, and if the Chiefs win the turnover battle, well, all bets are off.
Terez A. Paylor, firstname.lastname@example.org