TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 17: Kansas City Chiefs At Denver Broncos

Chiefs
Broncos
Running back Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs carries the ball as outside linebacker Wesley Woodyard #52 of the Denver Broncos defends during the game at Arrowhead Stadium on Nov. 25, 2012. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Peyton Manning directs the Broncos offense against the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 23, 2012 in Denver. (credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Running back Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs carries the ball as outside linebacker Wesley Woodyard #52 of the Denver Broncos defends during the game at Arrowhead Stadium on Nov. 25, 2012. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Peyton Manning directs the Broncos offense against the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 23, 2012 in Denver. (credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Quarterback
The Chiefs have had endured a miserable season and the season finale may turn out to be another disaster because the Broncos are playing to clinch a first-round bye and possible homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Quarterback Brady Quinn does not have the wherewithal to trade punches with Peyton Manning.
Winner The Broncos have become one of the best teams in the game and Peyton Manning has been sensational. He has exceeded all expectations and is a prime MVP candidate. Manning has completed 68.1 percent of his passes and thrown for 4,355 yards.
Offense
The Chiefs have one of the top running backs in the game in Jamaal Charles, who has the ability to explode through the defense and make at least one big play per game. Charles has run for 1,456 yards and he has a 5.4 yards per carry average. Tight end Tony Moeaki can make tough third-down catches.
Winner The Broncos have had a balanced offense all season. Even after Willis McGahee went down (knee and leg), Knowshon Moreno has stepped in and been nearly as effective. Manning has developed an excellent rapport with Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas. The two have combined for 20 TD receptions and tight end Jacob Tamme has also caught 51 passes.
Defense
Statistics can be misleading. The Chiefs have the 17th ranked defense and are 8th against the pass. The reason they rank so highly against the pass is that opponents are often just running out the clock in the game’s later stages and they don’t have to put the ball in the air. Derrick Johnson is a big-time hitter and a sensational tackler. He leads the Chiefs with 119 stops.
Winner The Broncos defense continues to punish opponents with consistency, hard-hitting and big plays. They rank 3rd overall and 6th against the pass. Outside linebacker Von Miller has had a sensational season, recording 17.5 sacks and forcing six fumbles. Unheralded defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson has 35 tackles and can shut down the interior run.
Special Teams
The Chiefs thought they had the weapons to have a huge season on special teams, but it has not played out that way. They have been outgained significantly on both punt and kickoff returns. Placekicker Ryan Succop has had a decent season, making 27-of-32 FG attempts.
Winner The Broncos have gotten kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns this season and they have prevented opponents from getting into the endzone with their special teams. Matt Prater has a big leg, but he has not always been consistent on his FG attempts.

The Winner Is

Peyton Manning directs the Broncos offense against the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 23, 2012 in Denver. (credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Winner Broncos
4 out of 4

The Broncos know that they will have a first-round bye if they can beat the lowly Chiefs. They also know that if the Texans don’t win on the road against the Colts, they will be the No. 1 team in the AFC. This appears to be an easy win for the Broncos.

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