Week 8 Tale Of The Tape: Denver Broncos At Kansas City Chiefs
- QuarterbackThe Broncos have struggled badly on offense in back-to-back losses to the Giants and Chargers, and much of that has fallen on Trevor Siemian, but the quarterback will retain his position for this Monday night game. Head coach Vance Joseph likes Siemian’s practice play and work ethic, and will continue to support him. Siemian has limited passing skills, and opponents know it.The Chiefs have also lost two games in a row, but they have been far more competitive in losses to Pittsburgh and Oakland than the Broncos were in the last two weeks. Alex Smith looked like an MVP candidate through the early part of the season, and he remains a candidate with a 15-0 TD-interception ratio. Smith has shown he can make the big plays that were out of his reach in previous seasons.
- OffenseThe Broncos have to get their running game going because Siemian is clearly not the kind of quarterback who can carry the team on his own. C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles are a solid 1-2 punch at the position, but opponents have been game-planning to stop them. Demaryius Thomas is an excellent receiver, but ordinary QB play has limited him, and Emmanuel Sanders' (ankle) status is unknown.The Chiefs started the season as the best big-play team in the league with RB Kareem Hunt and WR Tyreek Hill making multiple explosive plays on an every-week basis. That did not happen in the losses to the Steelers and Raiders, but the offense is still dangerous. TE Travis Kelce has the moves to get open downfield and will fight to make the tough catch.
- DefenseThe Broncos remain one of the nastiest and most effective defenses in the league, although the Giants and Chargers were able to find some unexpected success against them. Very few players in the NFL can match Von Miller (7.0 sacks) in his ability to get to the quarterback with speed and a variety of moves, while LB Brandon Marshall is an excellent tackler and CB Aqib Talib remains a solid cover man.The Chiefs can put heavy pressure on opposing quarterbacks when Justin Houston can work his way into the backfield. While Houston has a respectable 5.5 sacks, the Chiefs are vulnerable when he is being double-teamed. Opponents have been able to move the ball on this defense with regularity. After a solid start, this unit has slowed down and is vulnerable against most opponents.
- Special TeamsThe Broncos have regularly played well on special teams over the years, but they rank among the worst teams in the league in 2017. The PK-P combination of Brandon McManus and Riley Dixon is struggling quite a bit. McManus has made just 8-of-13 FG attempts this season.The Chiefs have a significant advantage over the Broncos on special teams, and Hill is an explosive return man who should have a chance to hurt the visitors with his quickness and agility. Harrison Butker has made 13-of-14 FG attempts since replacing the injured Cairo Santos
Despite back-to-back losses, the Chiefs remain a strong team. Still, there will be some urgency to this game and Kansas City does not want to lose a second consecutive home game.