The AFC West-leading Denver Broncos (7-1) will look to rebound from their first loss of the season when they host the division rival Kansas City Chiefs (3-5) on Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
After allowing 365 yards in a 27-24 loss to Indianapolis last week, the Broncos still have the NFL’s top defense in several categories, ranking No.1 in yards (274.1), passing yards (181.0) and points allowed (17.4). The struggles against the Colts came following a dominating performance against Green Bay where the Packers were held to 140 total yards. After 17 takeaways through the first six games, Denver has now gone two straight without one.
The defense has overcompensated for the struggles of Peyton Manning, who threw two touchdowns for the first time since Week 3 but also had two interceptions. Manning has nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions through six games and threw just 15 all of last season and his 75.6 quarterback rating is his worst since 1999. He is one win as a starter and three passing yards shy of passing Brett Favre’s records in both categories (186, 17,838).
Kansas City has won two straight and done so on the back of a strong defense that allowed just 23 points total, nearly equal to their per-game average this season (22.8). They rank No. 17 in yards allowed (356.5) but have surrendered less than that amount in each of the last four games.
Denver welcomes in a Kansas City offense still adjusting to life without Pro-Bowl running back Jamaal Charles. They had no problems two weeks ago in London, rushing for 206 yards in a 45-10 rout of the Lions. The week before Kansas City ran for 138 in a win over Pittsburgh, led by 110 from Charcandrick West. In the last two games, West has run for 207 yards and two touchdowns on 42 attempts.
Alex Smith has been solid under center in recent weeks, throwing five touchdowns and no interceptions the last five games. Smith hasn’t been picked off since Week 3 and has thrown just three picks all season to go with 10 total touchdowns. Kansas City could take some chances through the air as opposed to running into the teeth of Denver’s staunch front seven.
In the first meeting in Week 2, Denver walked out of Kansas City with a 31-24 win. Denver picked Smith off twice while Manning threw for 256 yards and three scores, including one to Emmanuel Sanders with 36 seconds left. On the next play from scrimmage, Denver returned a fumble for a touchdown and completed an improbable comeback win.
Start Time: 4:25 p.m.
Betting Odds: Denver -4
Over/Under: 41.5 points
*All odds courtesy of Sportsbook.ag