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Broncos should be familiar with Chiefs offense

Zac Stevens Avatar
November 26, 2016


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — It’s safe to say that the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs know each other well. Since 1963, the two teams have faced each other twice a year, every year (except in 1982 when they only played once due to a strike-shortened season) combining for over 100 divisional rivalry games.

On Sunday night, when the teams go head-to-head for the first time this season, recent history won’t be the only reason why the two are so familiar with one another.

“They play defense and run the ball with short passes, so they’re kind of in a similar boat as us,” cornerback Aqib Talib said. “We play against this offense [in practice] a lot, and we go against [the Chiefs] a lot.”

Not only are the Chiefs (7-3) and Broncos (7-3) built very similar on both sides of the ball, they produce almost the exact same statistics, specifically on the offensive side.

Courtesy: ESPN
Courtesy: ESPN

While both offenses rank near the middle of the pack in scoring per game—Denver 14 overall, Kansas City 19 overall—Talib only cares about one thing: winning. According to the star corner, the Chiefs offense is dangerous because the team continues to do just that.

“If you win 18 out of your last 21 games then you’re good, period, no matter what the fantasy world says,” he said. “You’re a good team, period. They have a good, solid offense no matter what the numbers say.”

Although the aggregate numbers for both offenses are very similar, the key difference between the two is where the playmakers are located. The two biggest threats on the Broncos offense are wide receivers, Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, however, for the Chiefs, their playmaker is in the backfield.

In the absence of Jamaal Charles—who only played in three games and will likely miss the rest of the season—running back Spencer Ware has stepped up as the Chiefs most dangerous piece.

“He’s a great player. He has gone under the radar a little bit,” linebacker Todd Davis said. “But you see how many big plays he has and what he can do, so you got to contain it.”

Ware is not just the top back for the Chiefs but has quietly been one of the top running backs in the entire league. The fourth-year back out of LSU, where he was a fullback, ranks sixth in the NFL in yards from scrimmage, averaging 99 per game.

Outside of Ware, though, the Chiefs have yet to find a consistent second threat. Their leading receiver is tight end Travis Kelce, and while he is having a fine year for a tight end—4.9 receptions per game and 57.4 receiving yards—his production falls short to most teams top receivers.

The Chiefs lack a receiving threat that cracks the top 30 in receptions per game, receiving yards per game or receiving touchdowns. The Broncos defense will try to capitalize on this and force the Chiefs offense to be one-dimensional. Davis thinks the best way to do this is to take Spencer Ware out of the equation.

“I think it would be big. They use [Ware] a lot of different ways, so if we can take him out of the game and not make him a factor, it would be huge for us,” he said.

While there is no doubt that the Broncos are doing plenty of film study on the Chiefs, the best preparation for the Broncos defense may have been going up against their own offense.

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