DENVER (The Sports Xchange) – The Broncos won seven of the last eight games against the Chiefs. Here are two matchups to watch in Sunday night’s game:
Chiefs RBs Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West and Knile Davis vs. Broncos NT Sylvester Williams and ILBs Brandon Marshall and Todd Davis
If the Kansas City offense can’t consistently run the football, its chances of winning drop considerably. The Chiefs’ package works only when there is balance, and they have struggled with that in recent weeks. Just over a month ago, they ranked in the top half of the league in rushing yards. Now, they are No. 21, able to push out just 98 per game. Denver’s defense is No. 4 overall, but a lowly No. 29 against the run, allowing 4.4 yards per carry and 123.7 yards per game. In the Broncos’ most recent AFC West games, San Diego’s Melvin Gordon ran for 111 yards on 23 carries and Oakland’s Latavius Murray tallied 114 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries. The Chiefs need similar production.
Chiefs OLB Justin Houston vs. Broncos OTs Donald Stephenson and Ty Sambrailo
In his first four NFL seasons, Stephenson was on the field for the Chiefs whenever he wasn’t under NFL suspension, injured or in the coaching doghouse. He signed as a UFA with Denver in March and has seven starts. Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said Stephenson or Sambrailo will be at right tackle, competing for the job each week. Stephenson had more than a few post-practice headaches from going against Houston. In one-on-one drills in training camp, Stephenson seldom won a play against Houston. He may know some of the moves of the Chiefs’ pass rusher, but Houston also knows which weaknesses he can exploit with Stephenson. After missing the first nine games, Houston showed in his return that he is not quite 100 percent. If Stephenson is at right tackle, Houston will step up his game.