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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Bye Week

Prediction: DEN 31, KC 17

Update: The Chiefs have benched Tyler Thigpen (go figure) and Damon Huard will take the start and should definitely help the offense much more this week. I have adjusted the projections based on his start.

This match-up used to be contentious but now showcases one of the teams on a meteoric rise against a team that may have never been worse. The Broncos swept the Chiefs last year, winning 27-11 in Kansas City and later 41-7 in Denver. The Chiefs need to rely on opponents to stop caring before they can score and the Broncos haven't had less than 32 points in a game this year.

Denver Broncos (3-0)
Homefield: Invesco Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @OAK 41-14 -3 41.5
2 SD 39-38 +1.5 45.5
3 NO 34-32 -5.5 51.5
4 @KC - -9.5 46.5
5 TB - - -
6 JAX - - -
7 @NE - - -
8 BYE - - -
9 MIA - - -
10 @CLE - - -
11 @ATL - - -
12 OAK - - -
13 @NYJ - - -
14 KC - - -
15 @CAR - - -
16 BUF - - -
17 @SD - - -
DEN at KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler     250,2
RB Andre Hall 50    
RB Selvin Young 60,1 20  
RB Michael Pittman 20,1    
TE Tony Scheffler   40,1  
WR Eddie Royal   50  
WR Brandon Stokley   20  
WR Brandon Marshall   110,1  
PK Matt Prater 1 FG 4 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Broncos must be living right because they have been getting all the breaks. For the past two weeks there have been incorrect calls made that favor the Broncos who have risen to 3-0 after winning the last two games by a total of only three points. The Broncos are almost a mirror image of what we have historically thought of them. Their defense has been gashed but only via the pass despite having two of the better cornerbacks in the league (in theory anyway). The old rushing game that was so dominant has all but disappeared while Jay Cutler has been deadly as a passer this year. All that doesn't really matter this week but this is a team that is definitely changing and for the better.

Quarterback: The new and improved Jay Cutler is getting better all the time. After three games he already has eight passing scores and has averaged almost 300 yards per game. He has only been sacked once and has just been outstanding every week. With any luck the defense will continue to make games a shootout and every Cutler owner will be feasting on fantasy points.

Cutler only had 192 yards and one score in Kansas City last year but later passed for 244 yards and four touchdowns at home.

Running Backs: The only consistent running back has been Michael Pittman who has never had more than 30 yards in any game but always scores at least one touchdown. Selvin Young has remained the primary runner but barely since Andre Hall has almost as many carries each week. No runner has turned in more than 78 rushing yards and all have had a bad week other than Pittman. There is just no reliability in a backfield that has historically been a goldmine.

Selvin Young rushed for 109 yards and one score in Kansas City last year and later ran for 156 yards on just 17 carries in the home meeting with the Chiefs.

Wide Receivers: The rookie Eddie Royal had a monster debut with 146 yards and a score in the season opener but since Brandon Marshall returned, Royal is just another receiver and only had four catches for 11 yards last week. Marshall has been awe-inspiring so far with back-to-back games of 166 and 155 yards and a score in each. He already has 24 catches on the season and has unbelievable chemistry with Cutler that defenses so far cannot stop. The rest of this crew is only window dressing since this unit - the entire offense for that matter - revolves around Marshall.

Marshall caught six passes for 85 yards in the away game with the Chiefs last year and later caught ten passes for 115 yards and two scores in the home game.

Tight Ends: Tony Scheffler comes off a down week with just four catches for 32 yards but he is still averaging over 50 yards per week.

Scheffler had exactly four catches for 31 yards in both meetings with the Chiefs last year.

Match Against the Defense: There's no reason to expect the Broncos to not run since the Chiefs have been horrible against running backs but instead of Young having a monster game, these new Broncos will pass the ball more. Look for Pittman to notch at least one rushing score and Hall and Young to split decent yardage. Cutler won't have a huge game here because he doesn't need it but should have a couple of scores and moderate yardage. The Chiefs have only faced Matt Cassell, JaMarcus Russell and Matt Ryan so far. Hardly the experience of Cutler.

Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 1 15 2 2 8 22
Preventing Fantasy Points    KC 4 31 12 3 18 28

Kansas City Chiefs (0-3)
Homefield: Arrowhead Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NE 10-17 +16.5 45
2 OAK 8-23 -4 34.5
3 @ATL 14-38 +5 36
4 DEN - +9.5 46
5 @CAR - - -
6 BYE - - -
7 TEN - - -
8 @NYJ - - -
9 TB - - -
10 @SD - - -
11 NO - - -
12 BUF - - -
13 @OAK - - -
14 @DEN - - -
15 SD - - -
16 MIA - - -
17 @CIN - - -
KCC vs DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Tyler Thigpen 160,1
QB Damon Huard     230,2
RB Larry Johnson 70 20  
TE Tony Gonzalez   70,1  
WR Jeff Webb   20  
WR Devard Darling   40  
WR Dwayne Bowe   80,1  
PK Nick Novak 1 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: It doesn't get any better for the Chiefs who have already managed to lose to the Raiders and Falcons - that was the only easy stretch of the schedule. It just gets worse from here on it. Facing a divisional opponent this week should mean no late game trash time is allowed. The only positive from this season has been an almost certainty that the Chiefs will have a top three selection in the NFL draft next year.

Quarterback: The Chiefs went with Tyler Thigpen last week and discovered why the journeyman quarterback had never been a starter. Thigpen started with seven incompletions last week and ended only 14 of 38 for 128 yards and one touchdown to Dwayne Bowe. He was intercepted three times and this was by the rebuilding Atlanta Falcons. Trash time has saved this franchise from some scary statistics.

The Chiefs never had more than 162 passing yards against the Broncos last season and had only one score in the road game.

Running Backs: This is the important thing about Larry Johnson to know - he is back! He just rumbled for 121 yards and a score on the road up the guy of the Falcons!

And that is exactly what you should say if you own him and someone is willing to listen to a trade offer. Because Johnson only had 19 yards on seven carries by halftime in Atlanta and the Chiefs already trailed 24-7 by then. He had a 48 yard run in the third quarter to pad his stats. How bad is a team when it gets mercy from the Atlanta Falcons?

Holmes rushed for 65 yards on 20 carries at home and later was out injured when the Chiefs went to Denver. In is place Kolby Smith ran for 12 yards on 13 carries (no typo).

Wide Receivers: To Thigpen's credit, he did connect with Dwayne Bowe on a second-quarter touchdown though he ended with just four catches for 43 yards. No other wideout had more than one catch for 11 yards last week so Thigpen is hardly energizing the passing attack.

Bowe had a very healthy 105 yards on nine receptions in the home game against the Broncos last season but later only had 35 yards on two catches in the road game.

Tight Ends: With Thigpen under center, Tony Gonzalez had a healthy ten passes thrown to him but only caught four for 35 yards. It was his worst game of the year and a further decline of his production.

Gonzalez was held to 29 yards on three catches at home against the Broncos but later reeled in seven receptions for 76 yards and one score in Denver.

Match Against the Defense: The Denver defense has taken a step backwards this year but that doesn't mean a team like the Chiefs are going to be able to take advantage. Expect only moderate yardage from Johnson because the Broncos will load up to stop him and not let up because it is a divisional game. That leave Thigpen to eventually manage one passing score that almost has to go to Bowe again though it may end up with Gonzalez. There is nothing special about the Denver pass defense but there is even less going on with the Chiefs offense.

Gaining Fantasy Points KC 18 25 22 12 32 26
Preventing Fantasy Points    DEN 31 29 27 23 15 9
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