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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 14
December 3, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
CHI at GB IND at TEN TB at NO KC at DEN CAR at ATL
CIN at BAL OAK at PIT WAS at NYG MIA at NE Mon 9 PM
DAL at PHI SD at DET Sun 4 PM NYJ at BUF STL at CLE
HOU at JAX SEA at MIN ARZ at SF *updated Times EST
   
Kansas City vs Denver Sun, Dec 7; 4 PM on CBS at Invesco Field
  Kansas City Rush Catch Pass
QB Trent Green 0 0 270,2
RB Priest Holmes 110,1 40,1 0
TE Tony Gonzalez 0 60,1 0
WR Johnnie Morton 0 70 0
WR Dante Hall 0 30 0
WR Eddie Kennison 0 50 0
  Denver Rush Catch Pass
QB Jake Plummer 20 0 230,1
RB Clinton Portis 130,2 30 0
TE Shannon Sharpe 0 60 0
WR Rod Smith 0 90,1 0
WR Ashley Lelie 0 30 0

Game Prediction: KC 26, DEN 24

In week five, the Chiefs nipped the Broncos 24-23. That has been their pattern - always just good enough and while they are on the road against a team that needs this game desperately, the Broncos have shown in games against the Bears and Ravens that they are not yet consistent in their play. These two teams almost always play in close, to-the-wire games.

This game goes beyond mere numbers and the Broncos swept the Chiefs last season. This is where the Chiefs stick a knife into the Broncos because, finally, they can.

Kansas City Notes

Quarterbacks:: Trent Green threw for only 128 yards but scored twice in the last meeting with the Broncos in week five. He only threw for 155 last week against the Chargers but also scored twice in that game as well. In the last eight games, Green has six of them with multiple touchdowns and has been over 244 yards passing for the last five weeks other than the Charger game when all interest was lost.

Running Backs: Priest Holmes comes off his best game of the year, rushing for 168 yards and two touchdowns against San Diego and pushing his season total to 17 scores. It was his first 100 yard rushing game since week seven and only his third of the season. Holmes "only" gained 97 yards on 17 carries in week five against Denver and only had four catches for 14 yards with no scores.

Receivers: Other than one long pass to Johnnie Morton, last week saw Green revert to primarily using Holmes and Gonzalez when he passed. Tony Gonzalez had two scores last week on four catches for 28 yards and now has eight touchdowns on the season, all of them coming in the last ten games. Tony Gonzalez had three catches for 46 yards and one score back in week five while Johnnie Morton scored once on his only catch in that game.

Match against the Defense: Holmes had a monster game (18-161) in Denver last season and it was in that game that he became injured for the final two games of the season. The Broncos have only allowed on rusher to gain 100 yards this season (Jamal Lewis - 134) and in Denver Shaun Bryson's 73 yards was the best by a visiting back but this is Priest Holmes and he should log another good game, especially since the Chiefs have been passing better this season.

Trent Green had 310 yards passing in Denver last season after only gaining 172 at home, so this season's KC game of 128 yards falls into that pattern. Denver gave up their biggest passing day at home to the Patriots who threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns.

If KC wins one more game, they have the division and more games locks up a first round bye. But this is still an important game. It will be the final test for them this season before running out the schedule of DET, @MIN and CHI. They are not close enough to cease giving a full effort. Their last three wins are all by less than six points and yet in all they held on to a lead. The sign of a solid team is not making comebacks to get wins, but to gain leads that they can hold onto and win.

Denver Notes

Denver rises to 7-5 on the season and is still in the hunt for a wildcard. They are four games behind the Chiefs and need this win.

Quarterbacks:: Jake Plummer only had 105 yards passing and one touchdown last week because he handed the ball off to Clinton Portis 34 times. Plummer has thrown at least one touchdown in every game played this season since week two.

Plummer threw for 221 yards and one score in the week five loss to the Chiefs.

Running Backs: Clinton Portis had his best game of the season against the Raiders, rushing for 170 yards on a career high 34 carries and scoring twice. That give him 100+ yard efforts for the last four straight games. Portis gained 141 yards and one touchdown on his 23 carries in week five, also adding 79 yards on five receptions.

Receivers: There was minimal passing last week but Shannon Sharpe caught his eight touchdown of the season. Back when the Broncos last played the Chiefs, it was the Rod Smith show for the passing game. He gained 131 yards on eight receptions while Ashley Lelie only managed 36 yards on three catches. Since that minimal production game in week five, Lelie has remained largely invisible, gaining never more than 57 yards in a game and never scoring. Last week he had no catches - he did not even have a single throw to him.

Match against the Defense: Portis had four touchdowns and 205 total yards in Denver against the Chiefs in week 15 of last season and this year looks to be shaping up for a similar explosion. The Chiefs rush defense has been pathetic most of the season and offers the biggest advantage to the Broncos in this game.

Plummer had a moderate game (221 yards, 1 TD) in their last meeting and that is likely the higher end for yardage since this game should feature lots of Portis and Holmes with passing only to keep the defenses honest.

Look for Plummer to hit Rod Smith first when he needs to pass but Sharpe is an obvious factor as well.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
KC Scores
6
3
19
1
10
4
DEN Allows
4
2
2
16
19
13
KC AP
-2
-1
-17
15
9
-9
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
DEN Scores
13
9
29
2
14
19
KC Allows
19
27
6
20
11
2
DEN AP
6
18
-23
18
-3
-17
Offensive ranks = #1 gains most points, Defensive ranks = #1 allows least points
AP = Advantage Points, the net difference between a positional rank gained or allowed by the teams.
KC
DEN
2003 Game Averages
DEN
KC
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
251
176
Pass yards
190
211
1.7
1.1
Pass TDs
1.4
1.1
0.6
1.5
Interceptions
1.1
1.6
5
8
Rush yards
16
17
0.1
0.1
Rush TDs
0.1
0.1
---
---
RB's
---
---
114
83
Rush yards
124
127
1.4
0.4
Rush TDs
0.6
0.8
56
34
Receive yards
33
46
0
0.1
Receive TD's
0.2
0.2
---
---
WR's
---
---
132
110
Receive yards
103
136
0.7
0.7
Receive TD's
0.4
0.5
---
---
TE's
---
---
64
32
Receive yards
54
29
1
0.3
Receive TD's
0.8
0.4
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.2
1.8
Field Goals
1.6
1.3
3.8
1.8
Extra Points
2.3
2.1
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
1
0.5
Fumbles
0.6
0.3
1.6
1.1
Interceptions
0.5
0.5
0.4
0.2
Touchdowns
0.2
0.1
2.3
2
Sacks
2.3
1.2
0
0.1
Safeties
0.1
0.1
Chiefs (11-1)
Score Opp.
27-14 SD
41-20 PIT
42-14 @HOU
17-10 @BAL
24-23 DEN
40-34 @GB
17-10 @OAK
38-5 BUF
Week 9 BYE
41-20 CLE
19-24 @CIN
27-24 OAK
28-24 @SD
Week 14 @DEN
Week 15 DET
Week 16 @MIN
Week 17 CHI
Broncos (7-5)
Score Opp.
30-10 @CIN
37-13 @SD
31-10 OAK
20-16 DET
23-24 @KC
17-14 PIT
20-28 @MIN
6-26 @BAL
26-30 NE
Week 10 BYE
37-8 SD
10-19 CHI
22-8 @OAK
Week 14 KC
Week 15 CLE
Week 16 @IND
Week 17 @GB

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points