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The Denver Broncos (9-2, 3-2 away) had a chance to take control of the AFC West, but blew a 24-0 halftime lead against the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football. Now, they will try to break their tie with the Kansas City Chiefs (9-2, 5-1 home), a team they handily defeated 27-17 just two weeks ago. The 4:25 ET game opened with the Broncos as a three point favorite, but the public has quickly moved the line to five points at sportsbook.com.
The Kansas City Chiefs are also coming off a loss, their second in a row after starting the season 9-0. San Diego slipped by the Chiefs 41-38 thanks to a last second miracle play. Team leaders say the Chiefs aren't in panic mode yet. "Just like we were doing when we were winning, we need to go back and see what's up and correct it and just keep going to work," Chiefs safety Eric Berry said. "It's not the end of the world. But we do have a sense of urgency this week to get the things corrected that we see on tape."
Berry plays in a Kansas secondary that ranks 15th in the NFL and allows 235 YPG through the air. They are 20th against the run at 115.9 YPG. While they don't rank high in either category, the Chiefs hadn't given up more than 17 points in a game until the Broncos beat them two weeks ago. They subsequently allowed 41 against San Diego. For this team to get back on track and look like the crew that was undefeated through Week 9, the defense has got to come up big.
Denver's game against New England was the Knowshon Moreno show. The Georgia alum grinded out 224 YDs on 37 carries and scored a TD. At times he made the New England defense look helpless. Some pin last week's loss on Peyton, but that's not really a fair assessment. Denver stayed with the run because it was working incredibly well. Naturally, that took the ball out of Manning's hands. He had 150 YDs, 2 TDs and an OT INT that was the first nail in the coffin, but he largely played well.
Manning is well known as a student of the game. He graduated from Tennessee in three years with a 3.61 GPA all while earning First Team All American honors as well as the Davey O'Brien award. He knows how to adjust. He knows every mistake he made against New England and he won't make them against Kansas City. He has hit eight targets for a TD this year and once Wes Welker gets his next trip to the end zone, he will have got three different receivers there at least 10 times. Yea, he's pretty good!
Denver is great at shutting down the run. They rank 5th in the NFL and give up only 94.8 YPG. However, they stink against the pass and rank 30th with 283.2 YPG. They had no answer for Tom Brady in the second half of last week's game. Alex Smith is an easier assignment, but is capable of giving them trouble on a good day.
This game doesn't set up perfectly for KC as Denver in off a terrible performance. We'd prefer to have had the Broncos coming in flying high of a big win. Just the same, we think the Chiefs come up big here in one of their best performances of the year. The quick turnaround from having just played to them and lost a couple of weeks ago and the home field, one of the best in NFL, should help KC here. Add in trying to snap a two game losing streak after an undefeated start, and we like our chances with KC here. Chiefs +5.5 and would consider money line as well.
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