Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs: Week 2 Thursday Night Football Preview & Prediction

By Joanne Kong

Twitter: @kongfu4u  NFL Kickoff

Compared to Week 1, Week 2 will be a different type of game for many of the teams.  Many who had trouble in Week 1 (you know who they are) now have the opportunity to watch film and make adjustments.  Sure, players and coaches alike probably watched hours of film before the season, but that was before the off season moves made by each team including with new coaches and players.  It’s their second chance to get it right.

So let’s start with the Thursday Night Game Preview:

Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs

Peyton Manning had a poor showing in a sloppy Week 1 win (19-13) against the Baltimore Ravens, which could not have been achieved without the Broncos defense that managed 2 sacks, 2 interceptions and 1 TD.

Okay, so the Ravens weren’t close to being imposing on the field either.  Joe Flacco only completed 18 of 32 attempts for 117 passing yards, 0 TD and 2 interceptions.

The Kansas City Chiefs, on the other hand, couldn’t have looked any better in their win (27-20) against the Houston Texans, who were still working out their quarterback issues (i.e. not really having one). Although the Chiefs suffer from an under-developed wide receiving core, tight end Travis Kelce dominated the Texans’ defense with 106 receiving yards and 2 TDs.  Quarterback Alex Smith played a great with 243 passing yards, 3 pass TD and 15 rushing yards. As usual, no TDs to any receivers, but it hardly matters when you’re winning.

Travis Kelce - Getty Images

Travis Kelce – Getty Images

As for the Broncos, it was unusual to see Peyton Manning playing with uncertainty as he completed only 24 of 40 attempts for 175 passing yards, 0 TD and 1 interception. In fact, according to ESPN, Manning’s average completed pass was only in the air 4.7 yards, his 2nd-fewest since the start of the 2014 season. In addition, Manning was only 1-of-6 on passes at least 15 yards downfield, only one of which was attempted in the second half. We saw similar lines at the end of the 2014 season, but knew that injury was to blame.  Although there was word of a potential back injury (one which Peyton denied), it seems the more likely reason for Manning’s conservative approach may be new Broncos coach Gary Kubiak and his run first offense.  But don’t count Peyton Manning out just yet.  The Chiefs defense won’t be a walk in the park with 5 sacks, 1 interception and 1 fumble recovery against the Texans in Week 1, but the Broncos aren’t the Texans.

With regard to the running backs, Jamaal Charles was as good as advertised, but C.J. Anderson wasn’t.  In fact, Anderson averaged under 3 yards per carry, splitting carries evenly with Ronnie Hillman in Week 1.  In addition, Anderson only had two limited practices due to a toe sprain indicating that he won’t be 100% for the showdown against the Chiefs.  If Denver doesn’t improve its running game, Manning will see a lot more pressure in the pocket.

Expect a low scoring game between the Broncos and Chiefs.  The Chiefs defense will blitz and Manning didn’t do well against the blitz in Week 1 going 5 of 14 with an interception and being sacked 3 times. But Alex Smith and Travis Kelce won’t have the same numbers as Week 1, as the Broncos are certain to roll more coverage over to Kelce, while exploiting the weakness of the Chiefs “lack” of receiving core.  In the past three seasons, the Broncos have won 6-out-of-7 games against the Chiefs, and I think the trend will continue in Week 2.

Prediction

Denver Broncos 20, Kansas City Chiefs 17

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