By Marc Mandell

@mandell_w on Twitter

360Sports Review

What is now a Sunday Night Football match-up, the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos has incredible importance. It’s time that Denver get it together in the 1st quarter, and keeps it that way all the way through the game. It’s time the Broncos quit mucking about. It’s time to look at the playoffs. In this game, that was flexed from Sunday afternoon to the primetime Sunday Night Football slot, Denver is trying to beat a division foe the first time they meet this year (not the second meeting like SD). Meanwhile KC is trying to stay in the race for January. Both of these teams are chasing the Oakland Raiders, which is still weird to say, and all three of these teams have the opportunity to be half the playoff bracket for the AFC in 7 weeks. Both of these teams are looking to, well, you know…..beat the hell outta one another. All in the name of 2nd place.

So who do you have this weekend? With Oakland leading at 8-2, it seems that a wild card spot is all that Denver and KC can do. At the moment anyway. So now it’s time to break this thing down, and see where the upper hand lies. The score? 20-17. But in who’s favor?

KC has the defense don’t they. Justin Houston is back and looking better every week, and Tamba Hali is always in top form. Dontari Poe and Dee Ford bring speed and ferocity. These four are relentless. Not to mention Dee Ford has 10 sacks on the season already. Oh and Derrick Johnson, who is leading the team with 56 tackles on the season. That’s just the front 5! It doesn’t get any easier in the secondary. To me Denver has 2 of the top 5 CB’s in the league. Kansas City has one as well, Marcus Peters. This guy is the truth. He is fast, quick, disciplined and intelligent. He is the entire package. He has 5 picks and 15 passes defended. In order to beat Marcus Peters, you don’t throw to Marcus Peters. You can’t win, you just lose less. Can anyone forget about Eric Berry? No, I didn’t think so.

Now there are two weaknesses in the KC defense. Run defense and 3rd down percentage. KC has let teams run on them this year, yes even worse than Denver has. Remember though, with that stat, Justin Houston missed a whole lot of time. With him back, the run should sure up a bit. The other is that 3rd down number – 47% of third down tries against the “Chefs” results in a first down for opposing teams. That’s 3rd worse in the league. So as good as this team is on defending the ball, there are holes to poke through. Wonderful big holes.

So how about the home team? How about the team that we get behind every week, and hope that they get it figured out. How about the Denver Broncos? Fresh of the bye week, hopefully, god in heaven hopefully, they made some damn changes, and got even a little bit more creative on the offensive side of the ball. Jeez and crawl!! Would it kill them to try, to TRY something different?! It’s like they’re allergic to it. It’s not Ebola here fellas!! Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, that’s right, what are the Broncos going to be about on Sunday night? Well, check this out.

So there will be more of a variety at the right tackle position. It has been primarily Donald Stephenson at the spot. He’s not bad, or good you could say, more just inconsistent. You know, like the rest of the offense. Up and down, down and down, then up up up!! Take me down the heart attack city, where the games are close and they sure ain’t pretty. The variety will be a split between Stephenson and the 2nd round pick from CSU Ty Sambrailo. I know some of you aren’t huge fans of Sambrailo, but would you rather pay Stephenson 10 million dollars for the same exact performance as Sambrailo, who is at a whopping 1 million a year? Naw, of course not. Now, whether this is a motivation move to kick Donald in his Stephenson, or if maybe Ty is getting a really good look from the coaching staff, well, we’re fixen to find out.

Aside from that, I have zilcho idea what the Broncos have in mind for the push to the playoffs. At least when it come to the offense. The only solace we have is that the offense of Kansas City is the same kind of bland, somehow wrong shade of grey, maddeningly frustrating offense. The QB is just a game manager, and no real desire to get on top of the defense. What the Broncos do have going to for them is the defense.

The gangs all back!! Talib and Wolfe are both looking good to get back to dispensing justice. Brandon Marshall should be much healthier as well. We will get to watch them play free from over thinking, and just fly to the ball and get hats on the offense. It should look a lot more like what we have become accustomed to. So here a few things I will be looking for on Sunday Night Football.

  1. I’m going to look for the Broncos to run more and more creatively. Runs to the outside and an improved screen game.
  2. More 50/50 balls for Damaryius Thomas to have a chance at down the field. More shots down the field in general.
  3. Look for the defense to slow down the run game of Kansas City far better than they have before. Force Smith to beat Denver through the air.
  4. Denver Special Teams to play well. Force Kansas into tough situations. Make them go the length of the field as many times as possible.

20-17 in Denver’s favor this week guys. If not for the reasons listed above, Denver is 17-6 after the bye week, whereas KC is 13-10. And if that isn’t enough for you, well than I don’t know what is quite frankly. Let me know what you guys think. Even you Kansas City fans.

Thanks again for reading and I will see you all on Monday evening.