The Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos will meet at Invesco Field on Sunday. The 5-3 Chiefs hold onto first place while the Broncos sit at 2-6. Here are five things the Chiefs need to do to win on Sunday, along with a final score prediction at the bottom.
Go over 200 yards rushing. Of everything we talk about in the game, this is the most important. The Chiefs simply need to run the ball a lot and run it effectively. Two of the Chiefs three losses this season have also been Matt Cassel's two season highs in passing attempts. Nothing against Cassel but to win consistently the Chiefs need to rush the ball. After last week's game, I'm expecting a heavy, heavy dose of the run game. Jamaal Charles is, on a per-carry basis, the most effective running back in the league. Last week he only had 10 carries. This week the Chiefs should double that number.
No turnovers. The Chiefs are at their best when they run the ball well and don't turn it over. That happens often, actually, and it will need to happen again on Sunday. The Broncos offense is one-dimensional and the Chiefs usually do well against those types of offenses. They can't turn it over and give up easy points. They need to make the Broncos go 80 yards every time without a free pass. Not passing the ball a lot will lend itself well to staying away from turnovers.
Don't let Kyle Orton do his thing. Orton's been one of the better QBs in the NFL this year so they can't let him get going. To contain him, the Chiefs will need to rush the passer. Tamba Hali, we're lookin' at you. The Chiefs are inconsistent rushing the passer but this is something they'll need to do well. They need to be effective, which means getting to Orton and not necessarily sacking him. He needs to be disrupted. If Orton has time, he will shred the Chiefs. KC's secondary is good but no one can be effective all game without a pass rush.
Bringing back special teams. Starting the season we figured the Chiefs special teams were one of the best in the league. That was true for the first month of the season but we haven't seen that in the last month. The Chiefs special teams should be a force on Sunday as they create field position for the offense. Make things easy on the offense by getting more than 20-yard kick returns or 8 yard punt returns.
Don't imitate Oakland again. Last week the Raiders and Chiefs combined for a whopping 27 penalties. That is an easy way for the Chiefs to lose. KC has been one of the better penalty teams in the NFL this year so we're hoping last week was an aberration.
Prediction: Chiefs 23 Broncos 20
Kansas City and Denver games are always close it seems. The Chiefs are clearly the better team this year but the Broncos defend Invesco Field well so they'll keep it close. In the end, the Chiefs run game is too much and they take home the three-point victory.