Intriguing Game- Week 16
Denver Broncos (8-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (11-4)
Broncos– It hasn’t been too great of a year for the Denver Broncos and when you lose some key pieces from a championship team from the previous year, you’ll see a decrease in certain areas. I won’t pin any of their struggles on Trevor Siemian at all. He’s handled himself really well as he was penciled in as the starting quarterback replacing Peyton who as we all know retired and Osweiler signed with Houston. He’s thrown 16 touchdown passes and only eight interceptions. It’s been what’s around him that has really struggled. The offensive line has been absolutely horrible this year and last night on the air, I stated that you play as well as those five guys up front and you can’t really do much when your offensive line isn’t giving you the time to make plays from the pocket and you’re running for your life. That’s been issue number one. Number two has been their lack of a running game and after C.J. Anderson went down, the ground attack has not been the same. Rookie Devontae Booker has been down more than he’s been up and they also signed Justin Forsett hoping he’d bring a spark and having played for Gary Kubiak while in Baltimore and it just hasn’t panned out they way they were hoping it would. Problem number three has been their run defense and this is where they’ve really missed Malik Jackson as I’ve said countless times. Their pass defense is the best in the league, but stopping the run has been an issue. Last week against New England, their offense had plenty of chances to score and didn’t capitalize on them. Prior to the game with the Patriots, I looked at their three remaining games and said this would be a tough task for them facing teams with ten or more victories. They’ll look for revenge against the Chiefs.
Chiefs– When I was on the SportsDen last night, I was asked about one of my biggest takeaways from week 15 and I simply expressed my disappointment in the Kansas City Chiefs because after their big win against the Oakland Raiders in week 14, they had a chance to really take control of the AFC West with a win over the Tennessee Titans and they lost. They were upset at home which is a shocker because Arrowhead is such a difficult place to play. As good as the Chiefs have been this year, they still have their flaws as a team and their offensive line is a humongous issue. Alex Smith is taking a lot of unnecessary hits and the offense needs another receiver not wearing the number 87 to step it up and be that other option in the passing game and in a way, we can say that’s been Tyreek Evans and he brings a lot of versatility to the offense. He can catch the football, he returns punts, he can move extremely well with the ball once it’s in his hands and he’s a true threat to take it to the end zone. When I look at their defense, I saw how much they really missed Derrick Johnson last week patrolling the middle of the defense. Right now, they’d be the five seed in the AFC playoffs and the division is still something they can win. They need to take care of business on Sunday night against the Broncos at home.
Broncos Player To Watch– Donald Stephenson: When these two last met, Justin Houston dominated the Broncos offensive line, mainly Donald. Now, he’s getting a second chance at him and he’ll need to protect Siemian’s blind side or it could be another long game for the Broncos offensive line and quarterback.
Chiefs Player(s) To Watch– The offensive line: This has been the kryptonite of the Chiefs as of late and Alex Smith isn’t really the type of guy to make it happen with his feet but he’s really had no choice. The Chiefs need to get it together up front moving forward.
Prediction: When they last met, this was an instant classic that had to be decided in overtime and the Chiefs prevailed. We could be in for another close game. I like Kansas City to handle business on Sunday. Chiefs 20 Broncos 13