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Denver Broncos' Keys to Victory: Week 10 vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Ken Pomponio Avatar
November 14, 2015


Keys-to-Victory-Who: Denver Broncos (7-1) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (3-5)

What: 2015 Week 10

When: 2:25 p.m. MST, Sunday, Nov. 15

Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High


Announcers: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green

Radio: KOA (850 AM), The Fox (103.5 FM)

Odds: Broncos -5.5; O/U 41.5

Notable: The Chiefs still hold a 56-54 series lead, but the Orange & Blue are fast closing the gap, winning 19 of the 27 meetings since the start of the 2002 season, including a run of seven straight. An eighth consecutive win would match a 1976-79 run as the Broncos’ longest win streak in the series. … Over the last five seasons, Denver has gone 22-4 against AFC West foes, with the .846 divisional winning percentage the best in the NFL, ranking just ahead of the Packers (20-4-1, .820) and Patriots (22-5, .815). … Peyton Manning is 14-1 all-time against K.C., including a 7-0 mark since coming to Denver in 2012. Manning has thrown for 19 touchdowns and four interceptions in those seven contests. … Chiefs’ QB Alex Smith owns a 1-5 all-time mark against the Broncos, including a 0-5 record since coming to K.C. in 2013. He’s thrown for six TDs and tossed four picks in those five games. … With a win Sunday, the Broncos will clinch their 21st .500-or-better season in the last 25 years.

The Keys

  • Big-play D must re-emerge: The Broncos headed into their Week 7 bye with 17 defensive takeaways and 26 sacks. Three weeks later, they’re still stuck on 17 turnovers and have only added four sacks. That lack of tide-turning defensive plays was particularly impactful in Indy last Sunday with the Broncos failing to get an interceptions or fumble from the previously charitable Colts and only sacking Andrew Luck once. The end result was a negative-2 turnover differential and the Broncos’ first loss of the season. The task will be tougher without their sacks (DeMarcus Ware) and interceptions leader (Aqib Talib), but Wade Phillips’ big-play D must re-establish itself on its home turf Sunday afternoon.
  • More offensive balance needed: A week after their best offensive game (500 total yards) of the season in the 29-10 rout of the Packers, the Broncos ran only 51 plays and had as many turnovers (two) as offensive TDs in the loss to the Colts while gaining 309 yards on only 51 plays. Part of the problem was an imbalanced attack showing up in Indy as the Broncos ran the ball only 14 times – for a season-low 35 yards against a Colts’ D that had been gashed for an average of 124.9 ground yards per game – while airing it out 37 times. By comparison, the win over Green Bay featured a tidy 34 rushes and 29 passes. More balance will be needed a K.C. defense that’s gained confidence in allowing an average of 14.3 points over its last four outings, including 23 total in two straight wins.
  • Maintain the tight end momentum: The best aspect of the Broncos’ last two offensive games? The emergence of the tight end in the Orange & Blue attack has to be up there as Owen Daniels and Virgil Green have combined for 13 receptions on 16 targets for 220 yards and a TD in the two contests. Throw in wild-card Vernon Davis who – despite cramming to pick up his new offense in five days – was limited to only nine snaps and one target in his Denver debut against Indy, and the Broncos should the makings of a formidable middle-of-the-field attack. It will be nothing short of a challenge against a Chiefs’ defense, which is only allowing 30 tight-end receiving yards per game, but like the ground game, the Broncos must stay committed here to keep defenses from focusing on the Denver wide receivers – especially with Emmanuel Sanders not expected to be at full health Sunday.

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