Kansas City Chiefs: Denver Broncos

Chiefs vs. Broncos preview

November, 28, 2014
Nov 28
8:00
AM ET
video When: 8:30 p.m. ET Sunday. Where: Arrowhead Stadium; Kansas City, Missouri. TV: NBC.

The matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs (7-4) and Denver Broncos (8-3) lost some of its shine last Thursday when the Chiefs lost against the previously winless Oakland Raiders. Still, there's much riding on Sunday night's game for both teams.

With a victory, the Chiefs would pull back into a tie for first place in the AFC West with the Broncos and perhaps the San Diego Chargers, depending on the outcome of their game against the Baltimore Ravens. A loss would end the Chiefs' realistic hopes of winning the division title and relegate them to chasing a wild-card berth.

Denver, with a win, would banish a rival from the division race and remain at least a game ahead of the Chargers.

ESPN Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher and Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold preview Sunday night's game.

Teicher: C.J. Anderson had a big game against the Dolphins last week, rushing for 167 yards. Is he a better alternative as the featured back for the Broncos than Montee Ball or Ronnie Hillman? How has he energized Denver’s running game?

Legwold: The Broncos have learned a painful lesson in their three losses this season, especially the one in St. Louis two weeks ago when they ran the ball 10 times. The simple fact is Peyton Manning can make can’t-run, can’t-block games work because of his ability to deliver the ball quickly after the snap, but he is at his best when the Broncos have some kind of run game and can keep the area in front of him in the pocket clean because defenses can’t simply overload the A-gaps and come after him. Anderson was a huge part of that against the Dolphins, who came in among the league’s most blitz-happy teams but couldn’t turn it loose because of the run game. He is the guy right now as neither Ball nor Hillman will play against the Chiefs because of injuries. And Anderson has done well enough in pass protection -- Job 1 for Broncos running backs -- to go with what he has done on the ground, to have earned top billing when the other guys come back. The Broncos will use a rotation when everybody is healthy. They believe Hillman’s speed is an enormous threat in the passing game, but Anderson has seized the opportunity. Unless his play drops off, they will keep handing him the ball.

Jamaal Charles had just two carries in the Week 2 meeting with the Broncos, and the Chiefs still found a way to grind out 133 yards rushing in the 24-17 Broncos win. How has Charles fit in the offense since? Do you think Andy Reid sees him as a 20-carry-a-game runner?

Teicher: The Chiefs have tried to wean themselves off so much reliance on Charles but are back to facing the fact that he is their best offensive player. You will remember he left that earlier Broncos game with a foot injury and didn’t play in the next week’s game at Miami. Since then, he has been as effective as he’s ever been running the ball. His production as a receiver is way down. The Chiefs have been unable to get their screen game going with any consistency. Even last year, the Chiefs seemed to operate with a pitch count on Charles. They will blow through that if they believe that’s what they have to do to win a game. But his backup, Knile Davis, isn’t Charles' equal as a runner, pass-blocker or receiver.

Manning had a big game against Miami and ended a streak of three straight games in which he had thrown two interceptions. Was this just a case of Manning being human, or had opponents maybe started to figure out Denver’s passing game?

Legwold: New England, Oakland and St. Louis were all able to create pressure in the middle of the field -- the Raiders for a half anyway -- and keep Manning from striding into throws. That meant Manning couldn’t really drive the ball wide, out past the numbers, which limited his options. Manning did throw for 438, 340 and 389 yards in those games, so "handling" Manning is always relative. The Patriots and Rams were also particularly physical with the Broncos' receivers, jostling them at every opportunity before the catch and tackling well after the catch, limiting Denver's catch-and-run plays. Overall, the biggest difference between what the Broncos do with Manning and what Manning did with the Colts for so many years is that the Broncos move receivers all over the formation, whereas the Colts usually lined up players in the same spots. It makes it difficult to get a bead on the matchups for the defense; the Dolphins had trouble when the Broncos put a tight end out wide and put Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders or both in the slot. Miami then usually had a defensive back on a tight end out wide and linebackers trying to cover receivers in the middle of the field, which is exactly what the Broncos wanted. In the end, it comes down to not just pressure off the edge, because Manning identifies that quickly, but pressure in the middle of the field.

The Broncos, because of injuries at linebacker, have used more specialty packages on defense of late, especially against the Dolphins. How would you expect the Chiefs to attack the defense? Despite few teams having anything consistent in the run game against the Broncos, do you think the Chiefs will pound away a bit?

Teicher: I would think that plays into the Chiefs’ favor if the Broncos use extra defensive backs against regular Chiefs personnel. It’s unusual to see Andy Reid’s teams pound away with the running game, but the Chiefs did it a couple of weeks ago against Seattle. They rushed 30 times for 190 yards that day, and quarterback Alex Smith attempted just 16 passes. I wouldn’t expect numbers like that from Smith and the Chiefs on Sunday night, but Charles is their best player and the Chiefs need to establish the run, if only to keep Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware honest.

The Patriots are a popular pick to represent the AFC in this season's Super Bowl, but I’m sticking with the Broncos, my preseason pick. Success in the playoffs usually depends on the matchups, but do you like the Broncos’ ability to get back to the Super Bowl again this season, keeping in mind they may have to play the conference championship game in New England?

Legwold: Top to bottom, despite the team’s warts at times this season, it is still a better overall group than last year’s team that advanced to the Super Bowl. That said, this year’s version hasn’t always played with the close-the-deal efficiency last year’s team did. Two spots where the Broncos largely stood pat in the offseason -- offensive line and the return game -- have been significant issues, especially the offensive front. The offensive line has been a riddle for much of the season; the Dolphins win is the exception at this point. It's a group that is largely the same as last season with Ryan Clady back at left tackle after he missed all but two games in 2013, and the line has not played nearly as well as it did last season. The Broncos have already made four changes up front, including two at right tackle, as they look for a way to kick-start a group that has played on its heels for much of the season. It’s a foundation position, and unless the Broncos' play looks more like it did last Sunday, those troubles would be big enough to keep them out of the title game.

Was the Raiders loss indicative of some issues as far as the Chiefs’ postseason profile, or are they closer to the team that won five in a row? Do you think they have the chops to win on the road in New England or Denver in the postseason?

Teicher: The Chiefs have some flaws that will make things difficult against high-scoring teams such as the Patriots or Broncos, no matter where the games are played. They get few big plays on offense, so their margin for error is slim. Believe it or not, the Chiefs’ longest pass play of the season is just 34 yards. It seems like Manning and the Broncos get one of those a quarter. The Chiefs have forced just nine turnovers and are not getting as many long kick returns as they did last season, so they are not providing short fields for the offense. As a result, the Chiefs have to be remarkably efficient. They have to be good on third down, which they were until they got to Oakland, where they were just 2-for-14 on third down. That helps explain why they lost.

NFL Nation: 4 Downs -- AFC West

April, 3, 2014
Apr 3
10:01
AM ET

Let’s turn back the clock, way back to, say, 2011.

John Fox is in his first season as coach of the Denver Broncos, and John Elway in his first season as the team’s top football executive. After five weeks, the Broncos are 1-4. Kyle Orton gets benched, the Broncos put Tim Tebow in at quarterback, and Denver goes 7-4 to finish 8-8 and win a tightly clustered AFC West on the basis of tiebreakers.

The San Diego Chargers also finished 8-8, as did the Oakland Raiders. The Kansas City Chiefs were 7-9.

All four teams piled together in a bit of a mediocrity club. Not too good, not too bad.

And then, in March 2012, the balance of power didn’t just shift, it was tilted by the weight of a future Hall of Famer when the Broncos signed Peyton Manning. The Broncos have followed with two more division titles, back-to-back 13-3 finishes and one Super Bowl appearance.

In all, the Broncos have gone 33-10 since moving Tebow and then Manning into the starting lineup. But the Broncos lost a Super Bowl by 35 points, looking physically overwhelmed while doing it, and Manning just turned 38. The clock is ticking on his storied career, and three teams with head coaches and general managers all hired since 2012 hope there is opportunity.

“You know they’re working their tails off to change things," Fox said. “We’re working hard to keep going, but your first goal always is to win the division; that’s the only guaranteed way to get in the tournament."

The Broncos were the most active of the four AFC West teams in free agency in recent weeks, but as Chargers coach Mike McCoy put it, “We’re grinding away. That’s the solution, just keep grinding."

The four writers who cover the AFC West for ESPN.com’s NFL Nation -- Paul Gutierrez in Oakland, Jeff Legwold in Denver, Adam Teicher in Kansas City and Eric D. Williams in San Diego -- offered their insights on closing the gap on the Broncos and some other key offseason topics. They also polled their Twitter followers to find out if they saw the issues differently.

First Down

Which team is closest to catching the Broncos in the AFC West?



Paul Gutierrez: Is this a trick question? Sure, the Broncos excel at losing Super Bowls in blowout fashion like no one else this side of Fran Tarkenton's Minnesota Vikings. But when it comes to the division in which they reside, the Broncos got better defensively in free agency by adding DeMarcus Ware and Aqib Talib. Since the Chargers were the only ones in the AFC West to beat the Broncos last season and have had a better run than the Chiefs in free agency, I'll go with the Bolts. While Kansas City lost three starting offensive linemen, San Diego essentially stayed the course. Quarterback Philip Rivers enjoyed a renaissance season under first-year coach Mike McCoy and figures to spread his wings (and bolo ties) with a year of experience. As far as the Raiders are concerned, there are simply too many questions and new faces at this juncture to think they will make a quantum leap in improvement, though stranger things have happened. Think Tony Sparano and the 2008 Miami Dolphins, who improved to 11-5 a year after going 1-15. And, yes, Sparano is on Oakland's staff.

Jeff Legwold: Everyone in the division, including the Broncos, carries a significant question in tow this season. For the Chiefs, it's their secondary; for the Chargers, it's their offensive line; and for the Raiders, their search for a get-it-done quarterback has now landed on Matt Schaub. The Chiefs were closest in the standings last season, powered by their defense, but the Chargers were closest on the field, with a win over the Broncos in the regular season and a hard-fought loss in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Chiefs return the guts of that defense, and even with the questions in the secondary, they are poised to duplicate a double-digit-win season in coach Andy Reid's second year. The Chargers played the Broncos tougher last season, and if Philip Rivers has another quality year, they will be in the playoff conversation. But they have largely sat out free agency with a draft-built approach. That puts them on a timetable to need one or two more drafts to be in position to win the division.

Adam Teicher: The Chargers finished last season in that spot, and though they lost offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, I don't see how much else has changed in that regard. The Chargers were competitive in their games against the Broncos last season, something the Chiefs and Raiders couldn't manage. San Diego also has the division's best quarterback and, yes, that includes Peyton Manning. The way the Chiefs finished last season, losing six of their last eight games, makes me wonder which way their program is headed. Their 9-0 start was a long time ago. The Raiders should be better than in 2013 but still haven't come far enough to be a serious part of this discussion. They had a huge pile of money to spend, but for the most part I don't agree with how they used it. While Matt Schaub is better at quarterback than the guys who played there for Oakland last season, he's still fourth among the four starters in the division.

Eric D. Williams: The Chargers offer the best challenge to Denver's throne in 2014. San Diego is the only AFC West team to defeat the Broncos since Peyton Manning's arrival in 2012. The Chargers held Denver's offense to 24 points a contest in three games last season, 14 points lower than the Broncos' NFL-best average of 38 points a game during the regular season. San Diego is the only team that returns its entire offensive line from 2013, and the defense should improve with the return of a healthy Dwight Freeney along with the development of young players like Shareece Wright, Jahleel Addae and Manti Te'o.


Second Down

The AFC West had three teams make the playoffs last season. Can it happen again?



Gutierrez: Sorry, can't see it happening this season. Besides the fact that the Broncos are still the class of the division, even if they lost Eric Decker and Wesley Woodyard, and the Chiefs and Chargers are stuck playing catch-up, the rest of the AFC's wild-card chasers -- the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens -- won't be down for long. Plus, it's such a statistical anomaly for a division to gobble up three of the six playoff slots in a conference. Since the 2002 realignment, it's happened only five times -- in 2006 with the NFC East (Philadelphia, Dallas and the New York Giants), in 2007 with the AFC South (Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Tennessee) and the NFC East (Dallas, New York and Washington), in 2011 with the AFC North (Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati) and last season with the Broncos, Chiefs and Chargers. Then there's this: The AFC West next season plays the tough NFC West, which went a combined 42-22 last season, compared to the AFC West going 37-27. They will beat up on each other a bit, allowing other AFC teams to grab playoff berths.

Legwold: That's a tough sell. When the division had three teams make the postseason in 2013, it was because the Steelers, Ravens, Jets and Dolphins -- who finished 8-8 -- lost a spot on the final day of the regular season. For the second consecutive year, Miami has tried to buy improvement in free agency, the Jets waved the checkbook around, and the Steelers and Ravens continued to trust the draft-first formula that has served them well on the way to multiple Super Bowl wins. It's a stretch to think all four of those teams won't cross the .500 mark in 2014 or that somebody won't come out of the AFC South. NFL personnel evaluators continue to say Houston's roster isn't that of a 2-14 team and that, with the No. 1 pick in the draft, their turnaround could come quickly.

Teicher: It can, but it won't. That Denver, Kansas City and San Diego all made the playoffs last season was a factor of the AFC West teams getting some extremely favorable scheduling. AFC West teams played against teams from the AFC South and NFC East. Only two of those eight opponents finished with a winning record and included were games against three of the worst teams in the league (Jacksonville, Houston and Washington). They won't have such luck in 2014. The common opponents from outside the division include four teams that won 10 or more games last season (New England, Seattle, San Francisco and Arizona). So all three of last year's playoff teams from the AFC West will find it difficult to beat or even match their records from last season. Few if any gimmes are built into this year's schedule.

Williams: While I believe the AFC West will remain one of the most competitive divisions in pro football, three teams will not make the playoffs again. The Chargers needed several things to go their way on the final week of the regular season, including Kansas City kicker Ryan Succop missing a relatively easy 41-yard field goal, to sneak in as the final AFC wild-card team. Other teams like Houston, Pittsburgh and Tennessee should improve, making it tough for three teams from one division to get into the postseason for a second straight year.


Third Down

Peyton Manning is the obvious top choice at quarterback in the division. Which of the other current starters -- Philip Rivers, Alex Smith and Matt Schaub -- do you think will have the best 2014?



Gutierrez: The knee-jerk reaction is to go with Rivers, who, as mentioned above, experienced enough of a rebirth to be named the NFL's comeback player of the year by The Associated Press, an honor that usually goes to someone coming back from injury. But let's think outside of the box and put on our silver-and-black-tinted glasses. Schaub had a nightmarish season in Houston last year, with visions of pick-sixes dancing through his head. But if a change of scenery is all the doctor ordered -- and Darren McFadden stays healthy enough to make the play-action pass a devastating weapon for Schaub, and the Raiders' rebuilt offensive line gives him time, and a playmaking receiver emerges -- then Schaub might be the guy. That's a lot of ifs, but we're just talking here, right? I'm not saying that translates to wins, but with an offense tailored to his strengths and confidence, might Schaub be the second straight QB from the division to win a non-injury related comeback player of the year award?

Legwold: The Raiders were quick to pour on the optimism at the recent league meetings about Schaub's arrival and what he could mean to their offense, and the Chiefs believe Smith will be better in his second season with Andy Reid. But after Manning, Rivers is still the most accomplished passer among the other three, and he, too, will be better in the second season with McCoy. With former offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt's departure to be the Tennessee Titans coach, Rivers is facing at least some transition, but with McCoy's presence and the promotion of Frank Reich from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator, it should be fairly seamless. If the Chargers can protect Rivers, they will benefit from the results.

Teicher: Rivers. He was rejuvenated in Mike McCoy's offensive system. It will be interesting to see what, if any, impact Whisenhunt's departure has on him. Smith had a strong finish last season, even if the Chiefs didn't. Things should run more smoothly for him in Year 2 in Andy Reid's system, but it's troubling that the Chiefs lost their best offensive lineman in left tackle Branden Albert and two other regulars on their line. They have yet to add to their meager collection of offensive threats, though I expect they will in the draft. Their inability to sign Pittsburgh wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders in free agency will haunt them. I have little in the way of expectations for Schaub in his first season with the Raiders. It's a bit much to ask him to thrive in his first year in a new system with unfamiliar teammates.

Williams: Rivers has the best chance to repeat his success from 2013 for one reason: continuity. The Chargers will return almost every starter from one of the best offenses in the NFL last season. San Diego added Donald Brown in free agency to bolster an already potent run game led by Ryan Mathews. Young playmakers Keenan Allen and Ladarius Green should get better. Look for San Diego to add another playmaker in the draft, along with a player or two to bolster an aging offensive line.


Fourth Down

What is the dark-horse free-agency move in the AFC West that will have the biggest impact?



Gutierrez: Seems to me that there have been few, if any, dark-horse signings in free agency; they've all been pretty big names, especially among the top three teams. Even the Raiders' signings have been relatively well-known names. Perhaps, then, the most surprising signing that could have an impact in the division is the guy who was thought to be long gone: Oakland running back Darren McFadden. When he's healthy and used to his skill set -- think early 2011, before a Lisfranc injury ended his season -- Run DMC looks like a league MVP candidate. With the zone-blocking scheme all but scrapped in Oakland, McFadden figures to benefit from the change back to a power-blocking mantra. The Raiders re-signed him to a relatively cheap, incentive-laden deal, so that qualifies as a dark-horse move. Whether he has a breakthrough season will determine if the signing is impactful enough to help decide the division.

Legwold: LaMarr Woodley will turn 30 in November and Justin Tuck turned 31 on March 29, but if the two have a little something left in the career tanks, then they can have an impact in Dennis Allen's defense with the Raiders. If not, well, then they are the first steps toward some salary-cap dead money when they can't play out their contracts. But overall, Emmanuel Sanders was the Broncos' last big splash in the opening days of free agency, and he's the guy who could make a significant jump in the Broncos offense. One of the league's better receivers in terms of yards after the catch, he is now with a quarterback whose greatest strength is getting the ball to players on short and intermediate routes in the best place to do the most with it. Sanders' 67 catches in 2013 were his career best, but his 11.0 yards per catch from '13 figures to jump with the opportunities he will get in the Broncos offense.

Teicher: This probably doesn't qualify as a dark-horse move, but when Sanders didn't sign with the Chiefs and instead joined the Broncos, it further tipped the balance of power in the division. Sanders would have been a nice fit in Kansas City's offense. His ability to line up in the slot or split wide would have given the Chiefs a fast receiver to use in a variety of ways. The Chiefs, for the time being at least, are without a proven slot receiver after losing Dexter McCluster to free agency. Their best hope at this point for that position is Weston Dressler, who was signed this year after putting up big numbers for several seasons in the CFL. Sanders, meanwhile, appears destined to catch 80 or more passes for better than 1,000 yards and several touchdowns as Eric Decker's replacement in Denver.

Williams: While some league observers consider San Diego signing Brown to a three-year, $10.4 million deal a reach because the team needs more immediate help in other areas, I believe the Chargers made a good decision for a couple of reasons. Brown is a known commodity because of general manager Tom Telesco's familiarity with the University of Connecticut product from their time together in Indianapolis. Brown is a perfect fit in San Diego's offense with his ability to run between the tackles and catch the ball out of the backfield. Brown strengthens something the Chargers already do well: running the football. With Brown, Mathews and Danny Woodhead, San Diego has the most talented running back group in the AFC West.

 

Double Coverage: Broncos at Chiefs

November, 29, 2013
11/29/13
10:21
AM ET
Von Miller and Alex Smith USA Today SportsFirst place in the AFC West is on the line when Von Miller's Broncos meet Alex Smith' Chiefs Sunday.
Much has changed since the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos first squared off two weeks ago. The Chiefs, 27-17 losers to the Broncos on Nov. 17, have dropped another game since and have seen their defense collapse. Their two best pass-rushers, outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, are injured. Houston is unlikely to play and Hali's status also remains up in the air.

The Broncos, meanwhile, also collapsed last week, blowing a 24-point halftime lead and losing in overtime to the Patriots in New England. Both teams are 9-2, so first place in the AFC West is on the line.

Here, ESPN.com Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher and Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold discuss Sunday's game.

Teicher: Jeff, given how some things have changed since the teams played a couple of weeks ago, would you expect Peyton Manning and the Broncos to change how they attack the Chiefs this time around?

Legwold: Adam, I wouldn't. They have stayed in their three-wide set through concerns about Manning's health, their pass protection and blitzing defenses. And they ran all but 10 plays out of the three-wide set against the Chiefs two weeks ago. They did try to run more against Kansas City than they had in previous games, particularly with Manning in the shotgun; they had 22 rushing attempts the last time they faced K.C. with Manning in the shotgun. They'll likely do the same, but will test the edges of the Chiefs' formation to see if the injuries have affected things there. They rushed for 280 yards against the Patriots this past Sunday, a total that was hidden in the loss, but if they can move the ball in the run game, the offense is that much more difficult to deal with.

With those injury concerns on defense for the Chiefs, would they have to take more chances to come after Manning?

Teicher: I would think so. They certainly came after Philip Rivers with a lot of different things in last Sunday's game. They just weren't effective. Rivers was very candid about things after the game, saying the Chargers emphasized having their backs help in pass protection against Houston and Hali before the injuries but they got away from that after Houston and Hali left the game. I would expect the Chiefs to change things up quite a bit against Manning this time: blitz some, play some coverage, maybe even mix in some zone. They haven't played much zone coverage all season but they may have no choice on Sunday. Their cornerbacks were horrible in coverage and the safeties often took bad angles to the receivers. The Chiefs allowed 228 yards after the catch.

Big game for Von Miller in New England the other night. I'm guessing it was his most productive of the season. He certainly didn't get much done against the Chiefs the last time. Was it a case of him taking advantage of favorable matchups against the Patriots or is it just a matter of getting that readjustment period out of the way?

Legwold: Likely a little of both. He was a terror in the first half as he forced a fumble to go with two sacks and a 60-yard fumble return for a score. He was the best player on the field in those opening minutes when the Broncos opened up a 17-0 lead that grew to 24-0 at halftime. He beat Patriots left tackle Nate Solder with both power and speed in those opening segments. But the Patriots picked up the pace on offense a bit in the second half, spreading things out more with some empty sets and forcing the Broncos to rush with fewer people at times. Miller had some quality rushes in the second half as he forced Brady to deliver the ball early on a smattering of occasions, but he did not sack Brady after the initial flourish and the Broncos didn't have a sack in the second half of regulation or overtime. Miller looked better -- consistently quicker, more explosive -- but he has yet to put together a full game like the Broncos want to see. In fact until the New England game Jack Del Rio had graded Miller's play as "OK." The Broncos need something consistently more than OK coming down the stretch.

After so many good things that happened during the 9-0 start, how have the Chiefs dealt with back-to-back losses?

Teicher: We're about to find out. I think the Chiefs are still stunned after losing their two top pass-rushers and a double-digit lead against the Chargers. They were certainly stunned after the game over how poorly their defense played. If there was something positive to come out of the Chargers game, it was that their offense was able to keep up. They scored five offensive touchdowns, topping their previous season high of three, and drove down the field for the go-ahead TD with about a minute and a half left. So they should have some confidence if Sunday's score climbs beyond a certain point. But between the injuries to Houston and Hali, an already sluggish pass rush, horrendous play in the secondary and the quality of the upcoming opponent, the Chiefs suddenly have a lot to sort through on defense.

Likewise, how confident will the Broncos be after coughing up a 24-point halftime lead in New England?

Legwold: Del Rio came right out of the gate Monday, just hours after the team had landed at 5 a.m. or so Denver time, in full keep-your-composure mode, essentially saying his message to the players was to avoid the "we're the greatest" chatter they've heard after wins as well as avoiding the "we're the worst" feeling after a loss like Sunday's. They took some solace in Manning putting together a big-time drive late in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 31-31. After that they slugged it out in overtime until a special-teams gaffe gave the Patriots the field position they needed for the win. There may have been more of a hangover if they had an opponent other than the Chiefs on the schedule this week. The potential to position themselves for the division title against the Chiefs got their attention quickly. They need a big game from Manning, however. He sets the tone for this group and Sunday night was a struggle for the passing games at times in the bitter cold.

The Chiefs challenged the Broncos' wide receivers plenty in man coverage two weeks ago. Given how the past two games have gone, would you expect them to do that again?

Teicher: That's how the Chiefs have defended all season and how they are built, so it's difficult to picture them going in a drastically different direction on Sunday. Just two weeks ago, the Chiefs thought they had the perfect big, physical cornerbacks in Sean Smith and Marcus Cooper to match up with Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker and the right slot cover guy in Brandon Flowers to match up with Wes Welker. Maybe what they saw two weeks ago in Denver or last week against the Chargers was enough to change their minds about how to best handle Manning and his receivers. But I doubt it. They might mix some things a little more than last time but I seriously doubt we'll see a wholesale change.

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