Chiefs Need a Win in DenverNovember 12th, 2010 by Lee Eldridge
A bit disappointed with the Chiefs’ loss to Oakland last weekend. The Chiefs uncharacteristically committed penalties, made mistakes, and turned the ball over. The Chiefs found it difficult to run the ball against the Raiders front seven. It was easily the Chiefs’ worst performance of the year. And it still took overtime for the Raiders to get the win in front of an enthusiastic home crowd.The Chiefs had numerous opportunities to make a play at the end, and just couldn’t do it. If the Chiefs convert just one of those opportunities successfully, it’s a win.
The loss has tightened things up in the AFC West. Instead of a comfortable 2.5 game lead in the division, the Chiefs at 5-3 are barely in front of the Raiders at 5-4 and the Chargers at 4-5. Other than the Broncos, this is anybody’s race. All of a sudden, this game in Denver becomes very important.
One more note before I get into this week’s game against the Donkeys. I typically like the work that Adam Teicher does for the Kansas City Star. He’s a fine reporter, and typically pretty balanced in his opinions. He’s certainly no homer for the Chiefs. But today he wrote a piece criticizing the special teams play of the Chiefs. It seems to me that while the return game has not been as dynamic as we had hoped, the coverage teams have been pretty good. I went to ESPN.com to checkout the stats. The Chiefs are #5 in the league in kickoff coverage (despite the TD they gave up to the Raiders), and #5 in the league in punt returns. They drop off a bit in punt coverage where they’re ranked #11, though that’s still above average. Their only weakness statistically is in kickoff returns, where the Chiefs are ranked #27. The stats seem to show that the Chiefs have been pretty darn good on special teams. They’ve typically been winning the battle of field position, which is what you want from your special teams.
Last year the Broncos started 6-0. New head coach Josh McDaniels was the wonder boy around the league. Since then? Well the Broncos have gone 4-14, including a crushing defeat at home by Kansas City to end the season last year. Chiefs ran all over Denver and won 44-24.
Enter this year. The Broncos are 2-6. They have virtually no running game (#32 in the league). And they can’t stop the run (#31 in the league). A devastating formula for a football team. Injuries on defense have forced Denver to switch out of their 3-4 defense to a 4-3 defense, but they don’t have the personnel to run a 4-3 effectively.
Looking for a ray of sunshine in Denver? Quarterback Kyle Orton has been very good. Why did Chicago want to dump this guy for Jay Cutler? And he’s got a nice group of receivers, in particular Brandon Lloyd who is having an excellent season.
The Chiefs just need to get back to mistake-free-football and they’ll win this game in Denver.
Prediction: Chiefs 27, Denver 19