At this point in the season there is a lot more at stake and a lot more emotions involved in every NFL game. The Denver Broncos (9-2) and the Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) are now creeping up on the playoffs and clinching a playoff spot is a priority. The Broncos and Chiefs are both coming off of losses and their future is dependent on this win. They will be provided that chance Sunday at 2:25(mtn) at Arrowhead Stadium.
Before the Ravens beat the Steelers last night, the winner in this matchup had a chance at clinching a playoff spot. Even though that is no longer the case, it is crucial for the Broncos to maintain their lead in the AFC West for their playoff future.
Considering it feels like I just finished writing about a Broncos/Chiefs matchup, here are the items that are different from two weeks ago:
- Kevin Vickerson was placed on the season ending injured reserve due to a hip injury he suffered against the Patriots. He was a big part of the defense with 22 tackles this season and had a sack on Tom Brady this past week. Mitch Unrein, rookie Sylvester Williams and the rest of the Broncos’ defense will have to step up in order to fill this spot. Denver has also signed Sione Fua, who played for the Carolina Panthers in 2012.
- Champ Bailey is expected to return, saying “I feel like barring any setbacks, I’ll be out there.” He will be an important part of the Broncos’ secondary considering Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been limited in practice due to an injury he sustained against the Patriots.
- Knowshon Moreno suffered a deep ankle bruise and is day to day but his injury isn’t significant enough to rule him out for Sunday. Clearly there was ball control issues from the depth of the running back position last week and that has been a priority in practice this week. If Moreno is limited in the game, hopefully we will see better ball protection from Montee Ball and C.J. Anderson
- Julius Thomas is also day to day and having his receiving abilities will be crucial to the passing game.
- Head coach John Fox surprised the team by unexpectedly showing up to their Thanksgiving practice after he returned to Denver following his heart surgery in North Carolina. He is expected to return to his coaching duties Monday and having his spirit with the team will do nothing but motivate.
- Going into one of the loudest stadiums in the league has a chance of hindering Peyton Manning’s play calling abilities. Let’s hope his hand signals and pointing will send the appropriate messages.
- Chiefs Tambi Hali and Justin Houston both suffered injuries this past week and they both have been crucial to the Kansas City defense. Hali is expected to return but Houston is listed as doubtful. Houston has provided the most sacks for the Chiefs with 11. That didn’t seem to matter last time these two teams met considering they didn’t get a sack on Manning. Needless to say, this will put more advantage to Manning’s throwing abilities.
With the success the Chiefs have had this season it’s hard to believe they will have three losses in a row. What is even more unlikely is that Manning will let the Broncos have two losses in a row.
Denver Broncos 31 at Kansas City Chiefs 24
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