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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
* updated

Prediction: KC 20, DEN 27

Update: Mark Bradley is out this week with a calf injury and has been removed from the projections. Devard Darling will replace him but not all that well.

Here's a coin flip game that is destined to make no sense. The Chiefs won 33-19 when the Broncos visited back in week four. it was one of only two wins this year (they also beat the Raiders who beat the Broncos but I digress). The Broncos are the most enigmatic team in the league since they have played 12 games and eight times either lost or won against all expectations. The Chiefs are a walk in the park for most teams but the Broncos are only 3-3 at home and have not been above the shocking loss.

One hopefully meaningful caveat here. The home team has won ten of the last 11 matchups between these two rivals. Just don't go betting money.

Kansas City Chiefs (2-10)
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 33-19 +9.5 46.5
5 @CAR 0-34 +9.5 38.5
6 BYE - - -
7 TEN 10-34 +8 35.5
8 @NYJ 24-28 +13 38
9 TB 27-30 +8.5 37.5
10 @SD 19-20 +15 48
11 NO 20-30 +5.5 51
12 BUF 31-54 +3 43.5
13 @OAK 20-13 +3 41.5
14 @DEN - +9 48
15 SD - - -
16 MIA - - -
17 @CIN - - -
KC at DEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Tyler Thigpen     230,1
RB Larry Johnson 100,1    
TE Tony Gonzalez   100,1  
WR Mark Bradley 50
WR Devard Darling   40  
WR Dwayne Bowe   70  
PK Connor Barth 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Chiefs are on a one game winning streak and now have their second win securely in their otherwise empty pockets. So far the season may have been horrific in the amount of losses but at least the offense was changed with some success to a spread scheme and Mark Bradley was acquired and found to be delightfully productive for a player that was waived by the Bears a month into the season. Tyler Thigpen may be the quarterback of the future and Tony Gonzalez may not be going out as a winner but he has been one heck of a productive loser.

Quarterback: Although Tyler Thigpen comes off his worst game as a starter, they did win last week and were just scared to challenge the Raiders cornerbacks. Thigpen had been good for two or three scores in each of the previous five weeks and had good yardage in all but the Tampa Bay game. Thigpen has taken to throwing more interceptions lately but overall he has been dramatically better than any quarterback since Trent Green left.

In week four, Damon Huard passed for 160 yards and one touchdown against the Broncos.

Running Backs: Since returning in week 11 to a new offense, Larry Johnson has been far less productive but did run for 92 yards on 24 carries against the Raiders and scored once. Johnson has become just another running back in this new offense but at least defenses are no longer stacking everything to stop him. One of the worst aspects of the new scheme is that Johnson is almost never used as a receiver anymore. He's gone from being the entire offense to just one part of a passing team.

Johnson ran for 198 yards and two scores on 28 carries against the visiting Broncos in week four. Hope you savored that one.

Wide Receivers: This week will test the trend that Dwayne Bowe always catches a touchdown at home (three straight) and never on the road with Thigpen under center. Mark Bradley is the opposite with a score in each road game so far and only one at home (though that being the most recent home game). Both players have offered healthy yardage in either venue but the scoring has been split between these two depending on where the game is played.

Will Franklin and Devard Darling still play every week but they never had more than one catch.

Bowe turned in seven receptions for 85 yards versus the Broncos.

Tight Ends: Tony Gonzalez has been on fire with Thigpen as the starter. He has topped 100 yards in three of the last four games and scored three times in that time. He has 33 catches in just those last four games. He is almost 100 yards ahead of all tight ends in the league and his six touchdowns ties him with Antonio Gates for that lead. His 73 catches are not only tops for a tight end, it ranks 6th among all wide receivers a well. This is going out with a bang.

Gonzalez caught three passes for 47 yards and one touchdown against the Broncos.

Match Against the Defense: You always have to wonder which Denver is showing up - and then prepare for the one you do not expect, No doubt that the Chiefs will be running the ball with much devotion because therein lies the main weakness of this defense. Look for a healthy game here by Johnson and a chance for one score.

Thigpen will have more problems passing here but it depends on the health of the Denver cornerbacks. Dre Bly was banged up last week and left the game for a bit but returned. Champ Bailey is hoping to return this week after missing three games with a bad groin pull. Bailey would match up on Bradley for the first time. I like Gonzalez to continue to be the star here with the corners on the wideouts opening up the middle. Thigpen should throw for at least one score and that almost has to be to Gonzo.

Gaining Fantasy Points KC 10 29 27 2 31 26
Preventing Fantasy Points    DEN 16 29 10 30 25 16

Denver Broncos (7-5)
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 19-33 -9.5 46.5
5 TB 16-13 -3 48
6 JAX 17-24 -3.5 48
7 @NE 7-41 +3 46.5
8 BYE - - -
9 MIA 17-26 -3 49
10 @CLE 34-30 +3 46
11 @ATL 24-20 +5.5 51
12 OAK 10-31 -9.5 42.5
13 @NYJ 34-17 +7.5 47.5
14 KC - -9 48
15 @CAR - - -
16 BUF - - -
17 @SD - - -
DEN vs KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler     280,2
RB Peyton Hillis 90,1 10  
TE Tony Scheffler   30  
WR Eddie Royal   60  
WR Brandon Stokley   50,1  
WR Brandon Marshall   100,1  
PK Matt Prater 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Broncos have a chance to make it six straight weeks of going opposite of all expectations and winning a game they should lose (or vice versa). There is inconsistent and then there is inconceivable. And then, the Denver Broncos. At 7-5 they already have a three game lead over the Chargers and only need two more wins or a win and a loss by San Diego. There is no chance of a wild card in this division and it will guaranteed be the #4 seed but the Broncos are going to the playoffs in the same season that they lose to the Chiefs and Raiders.

Quarterback: The Oakland Debacle was compensated for last week when Jay Cutler passed for 357 yards and two scores which made it six games over 300 passing yards on the season. He has scored at least once in all non-Raider games and has been good for multiple scores in over half his games. Cutler passed for 361 yards and one score in Kansas City back in week four so his trends should remain intact after this week..

Running Backs: In a freakish event, the Broncos did the unthinkable last week when Peyton Hillis had every carry in the game. All of them. No sharing. None of the "now who is that guy?" Just Hillis gaining a season high 129 rushing yards and scoring once against the Jets.That gives Hillis a score in three straight games and a small chance that the Broncos may end their quest to use a record amount of different backs in one season. Hillis will be the man and I will only project for him from now on.

Until he is injured. Or Selvin Young Tatum Bell make it a trio suddenly.

The Broncos rushed for 99 yards on 19 carries against the Chiefs this year using three different runners.

Wide Receivers: Brandon Marshall continues to shine with yardage and normally turns in around 80 yards in most games but his role as a scorer has never taken off this year. Marshall only has four touchdowns on the year and just one since week four. He also has only two games over 100 yards that started the year and then he always falls just short each week.

Eddie Royal is not nearly as consistent with yardage as Marshall has been but he has five receiving scores to lead the team and three came in the last five games. The key with Royal is that his five biggest games all came on the road. At home - not much.

Marshall scored once and had seven receptions for 77 yards in Kansas City while Royal had nine catches for 104 yards. Even Brandon Stokley had 80 yards on seven catches.

Tight Ends: Tony Scheffler only had one catch in Kansas City and he has scored in just one game all year. His yardage tends to go up against tougher opponents which does not include the Chiefs this week.

Match Against the Defense: The Chiefs bring the #31 rushing defense to Denver so expect to see plenty of Hillis (assumedly) rushing and at least one rushing score and possible a couple.

Look for Cutler to pass for almost as much as he did in Kansas City though the rushing will diminish the yardage. Two scores that should be for Marshall and the other more likely Stokley if not back to Marshall again.

Gaining Fantasy Points DEN 3 23 3 3 14 29
Preventing Fantasy Points    KC 17 31 13 18 30 24

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