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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 11 IND at TEN (THU) CLE at CIN MIN at SEA SF at NO
ATL at TB DET at PIT OAK at HOU WAS at PHI
BAL at CHI GB at NYG NYJ at BUF NE at CAR (MON)
*UPDATED ARI at JAC KC at DEN SD at MIA On Bye: DAL, STL

Prediction: KC 24, DEN 31 (Line: DEN by 8)

Players of Interest: Alex Smith

Update: Peyton Manning is listed as probable and is expected to play with no limitations. The only Broncos likely to miss the game is Champ Bailey. As expected, Dwayne Bowe's arrest won't impact this game other than his mental state and he's been so unproductive that it would be hard to determine exactly why he has yet another disappointing game.

Here is the late Sunday game that everyone will want to watch. The 9-0 Chiefs square off against the 8-1 Broncos in Denver to either tie up the AFC West and #1 seed race or for the Chiefs to take a commanding and yet surprising lead. This is one that the Broncos cannot possibly afford to lose. This is the most prolific offense facing the most dominating defense. Someone's going to have a negative adjustment to their weekly average. Likely both will. Played in Denver certainly favors the Broncos but the Chiefs have been preparing for two weeks for this game.

1 @JAC 28-2 10 BYE WEEK
2 DAL 17-16 11 @DEN -
3 @PHI 26--16 12 SD -
4 NYG 31-7 13 DEN -
5 @TEN 26-17 14 @WAS -
6 OAK 24-7 15 @OAK -
7 HOU 17-16 16 IND -
8 CLE 23-17 17 @SD -
9 @BUF 23-13 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
KC @ DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Alex Smith 40,1 250
RB Jamaal Charles 70,1 5-40
WR Donnie Avery 5-70
WR Dwayne Bowe 6-60
TE Anthony Fasano 5-40
PK Ryan Succop 1 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: Pretty much the season all boils down to this game and then the rematch just two weeks later. The Chiefs will be favored in all others and even losing to the Broncos is not the end of the world but it is a fight to see who gets homefield throughout the playoffs and who has to be a wildcard and constantly play on the road. So far the Chiefs have not allowed more than 17 points in any game

QUARTERBACKS: Alex Smith has not only been a game manager, but the only time he threw a touchdown pass in a road game was the season opener against the Jaguars. The defense has made every matchup low scoring and reduced the need to pass but that probably won't happen this week. SMith also tends to get sacked a lot for someone who rare throws. He's already had 26

RUNNING BACKS: Jamaal Charles is still the top fantasy back in most fantasy scoring and will no doubt be a central focus on Sunday by both teams. Charles already scored eight times this year and while he has only one 100 rushing effort, he remains above 100 total yards in almost every week. The last two weeks were his first of the year without a touchdown. If anyone deserved some rest on the Chiefs bye, it was Charles.

WIDE RECEIVERS: The paltry passing stats have rendered this unit almost worthless for fantasy purposes. Dwayne Bowe hasn't scored since week four and not at all in a road game. He's been held under 70 yards in every game so far and was just arrested for speeding and possession of a controlled substance most people call marijuana. That will be an issue to the league but likely not for this game other than being a distraction to a receiver who has under performed the entire season anyway. Almost every week it is Bowe with 60 yards, Donnie Avery with 30 yards and no one else with a catch.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Broncos have only given up five passing scores in home games this year though a few went high in yardage because every game ends up a shootout at least in the sense the opponent is always far behind. This is a big game for the Broncos and less likely one that they would allow trash time free yards as they so often have. Besides, Smith has been mediocre as a passer so far and it has not mattered - until now. The only reasonable start here is of course Charles who should have a nice game regardless how badly the Broncos try to stop him. They already allowed 13 scores to running backs this year and now they face the best one of them all.

WHAT TO WATCH: What happens when the Chiefs cannot merely win on defense and Jamaal Charles alone? We are about to find out just how good Smith really is as a quarterback and how much he is just a manager in a fortuitous position.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points KC 26 2 31 29 7 1
Preventing Fantasy Points DEN 23 23 21 27 19 17

 

1 BAL 49-27 10 @SD 28-20
2 @NYG 41-23 11 KC -
3 OAK 37-21 12 @NE -
4 PHI 52-20 13 @KC -
5 @DAL 51-48 14 TEN -
6 JAC 35-19 15 SD -
7 @IND 33-39 16 @HOU -
8 WAS 45-21 17 @OAK -
9 BYE WEEK ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
DEN vs KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 310,3
WR Emmanuel Sanders 2-30
WR Demaryius Thomas 6-70,1
WR Wes Welker 6-70,1
TE Julius Thomas 4-40
PK Matt Prater 1 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: Now we get to see just how good the Broncos really are at scoring points since the season low just happened - 28 points - and the Chiefs are only allowing 12 points per opponent and never more than 17 points. But you could also argue that the Chiefs haven't really played many good offenses either let alone the best one in a road game. A win here sets the stage for the Broncos to gain homefield throughout the playoffs. A loss is not necessarily an automatic wildcard but it makes it all much harder to acquire.

QUARTERBACKS: Peyton Manning no doubt caused a urine stain on every Bronco lovers couch when he went down holding his ankle last week. He is now expected to be fine and that his initial ankle sprain back in week six was not re-aggravated and it did not cause any new damage. Manning will be on the field this week if they have to strap him to a dolly.

In this prolific season, Manning has never thrown for less than 295 yards and that was when they were just doing the "cat playing with a mouse pre-kill" with the Jaguars. Holding Manning under 300 yards and three scores in this game would be proof that the Chiefs are really far better than their schedule suggests.

RUNNING BACKS: Knowshon Moreno is still never getting more than 15 carries per game but that is all he needs to produce a touchdown and great yardage almost every week. He even stepped his role as a receiver for the last two weeks with a total of 14 catches for 138 yards and a score. What typically happens in an important game that is likely to be more closely fought as this will be using Moreno almost exclusively. Ronnie Hillman has already been dumped in the river and Montee Ball won't get the change to lose a fumble. Expect all Moreno all day in this one.

WIDE RECEIVERS: No change to the Big 3 who are just trading off which player has a big game and which doesn't every week. Demaryius Thomas has been particularly hot with five touchdowns in the last three weeks. Wes Welker is the only one with a touchdown in every home game so far though he was held out of the endzone in the last two road venues. This is the #1 set of wideouts in the NFL by a significant margin.

TIGHT ENDS: Julius Thomas showed his ankle was just fine when he ripped off a 75-yard touchdown i the win over the Chargers for his ninth touchdown on the year. Oddly enough most of his worst games have been at home so far including the only two where he failed to score. Making it worse, the Chiefs have not allowed any touchdowns to a tight end this year.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Chiefs have been great against the pass with only eight touchdowns allowed but twice gave up 290 yards and on the road they've been facing this group of quarterbacks - Jason Campbell, Blaine Gabbert, Chad Henne, Michael Vick, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jeff Tuel. Not exactly anyone who will join Manning in the Hall of Fame. On the road the rushing defense allowed two runners to top 100 yards as well. This is two extremes meeting but the defensive numbers have been really helped out by playing bad teams that won't score much anyway. There is no reason to bench any of the Broncos for this meeting.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 1 5 1 2 5 12
Preventing Fantasy Points KC 10 5 15 1 2 4

WEEK 11 IND at TEN (THU) CLE at CIN MIN at SEA SF at NO
ATL at TB DET at PIT OAK at HOU WAS at PHI
BAL at CHI GB at NYG NYJ at BUF NE at CAR (MON)
*UPDATED ARI at JAC KC at DEN SD at MIA On Bye: DAL, STL


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