Denver Broncos (9-2 SU, 6-4-1 ATS)
The Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady comparisons will continue even long after both future Hall-of-Famers have hung up their cleats but the latest round was a decisive victory by the Patriots Tom Terrific who guided his team back from a series of miscues and fumbles in the first half to beguile the Denver defense in the second. Denver surrendered 31 unanswered points and it wasn’t until a late fourth quarter touchdown pass by Manning that tied the game and sent it into an extra frame.
Despite the Patriots decision to kick off in overtime, electing instead to go with the wind, and allowing Denver the opportunity to strike first it was all for naught as Eric Decker was flagged with an offensive pass interference call on third and four which ultimately stalled Denver on their own 48 yard line. Ultimately the Patriots got a gift when their own drive stalled and their ensuing punt glanced off Bronco Tony Carter which led to a New England recovery. Pats kicker Stephen Gostkowski subsequently drilled home the 31-yard chip shot and Denver had lost their second game of the season and the cover in NFL odds as two-point road chalk.
Kansas City Chiefs (9-2 SU, 6-5 ATS)
The Chiefs vaulted to a 14-3 lead over the Chargers last Sunday but came up on the losing end of a see-saw battle that culminated in a Phillip Rivers strike to Seyi Ajirotutu, a spare part on the San Diego roster, in the endzone with only 24 seconds remaining in the contest. Alex Smith did an admirable job in the pocket for Kansas City, tossing for 294 yards on 26-of-38 passing which resulted in three TD’s and one interception.
Perhaps even bigger than their loss to the Chargers were the injuries that resulted from it. Tambi Hall was sidelined with a sprained ankle and Justin Houston walked off the field with a sprained elbow. Both players are due for MRI’s and will most likely be watching rather than playing on Sunday when they meet their AFC West rivals. Compounding matters for the Chiefs is the status of starting right guard Jon Asamoah (shoulder, calf) and starting right tackle Eric Fisher (shoulder) who were both spectators last Sunday. As the injuries mount, the Chiefs will be searching for the next man up to the fill the many voids.
It is probably too simplistic to view KC’s recent setbacks as a regression to the mean. This is a better than solid club that coach Andy Reid has cultivated and nurtured. Alex Smith may not be among the game’s elite signal callers but he is opportunistic and not prone to foolish mistakes. That being said these injuries are not inconsequential and will only exacerbate potential problems on both sides of the ball for the Chiefs.
Denver has won four of the last five meetings and has covered the number in NFL odds in their last two meetings with the Chiefs. That consistency has them looking like the away chalk to add to our NFL picks. The knee-jerk reaction is that Peyton and the boys are going to be livid about their loss to the Patriots and will take it out on their divisional rivals. I think it is a cautionary tale to predicate your wagers based strictly on emotion but there will no doubt be a slew of public money on the visitors for that exact reason.
However, drama aside, this does look like a decent opportunity to bet the Broncos due mainly to the fact that KC is banged up and perhaps the euphoria of such an unexpectedly dynamic start to the season has somewhat faded.
Be careful on this one because Denver could be as easily deflated from their showdown in Foxboro as they are fired up to steamroll their next opponent.
Play Denver -4 at WilliamHill.com.