The top 2 teams in the AFC West meet Thursday night when the Broncos face the Chiefs. This has not been much of a rivalry lately, but that doesn't mean we can't find value in our NFL Picks.
The top 2 teams in the AFC West meet Thursday night at Arrowhead Stadium when the Denver Broncos travel to play the KC Chiefs. This has not been much of a rivalry of late, especially in the 2 years that KC HC Reid has been at the controls. In reverse order, Denver has won this contest by scores of 29-16 and 24-17 last year. Two years ago, the Broncos prevailed 35-28 and 27-17. It is only a rivalry if each team wins occasionally. KC has a poor history of doing that! That is even true on their home field, where they have lost the last 4 games to the visiting Denver Broncos. Facing visiting QB Manning would not seem to be the elixir for what ails the Chiefs. Manning is on a run of 41-13 SU, since joining the Broncos, including 18-1 SU against all divisional rivals (14-4 ATS) and 6-0 SU vs. the Chiefs. That’s a lot of history to overcome.
Kansas City Outlook
The Chiefs have a history of fast starts under Andy Reid. In 2013, they began 9-0 SU. Last year was also solid with a 7-2 SU start (note the 24-17 loss to Denver in Week 2). This year, KC and Reid even reversed their poor history of preseason play with a 4-0 SU ATS mark – perhaps that was fueled by the fact that despite KC having a 9-7 SU winning record last year, they missed the playoffs. Last week, the Chiefs extended that excellence with a 27-20 opening week victory vs. Houston. Of course, we were right there as part of our 13-2 ATS record in selecting every Sunday and Monday game last week. But, a closer look into that contest reveals potential trouble for the Chiefs. They were actually outrushed by the Texans 98-97, as well as outgained 396-330. They profited from a (+2) net TO margin which greatly helped them bolt to an early lead. They have a signal caller in QB Smith, who makes few mistakes and is an able leader against middle of the pack NFL opponents. But, check the history above, a microcosm of his results vs. upper echelon teams.
Denver Broncos Analysis
The Broncos 12-5 SU season of last ended with a home field playoff loss to Indy 24-13. Gone is HC Fox, who led them on a run of 40-13 SU the previous 3 seasons. Under 1st year HC Kubiak, the Broncos cleansed their palate from that playoff loss with an opening day 19-13 win against the playoff caliber Baltimore team. On display was a continually improving Denver defense which allowed an explosive Baltimore offense (26 PPG last season) to gain a total of only 173 yards. With that type of defensive support, QB Manning becomes more of a game manager with fewer needs to make the longer throws. This all adds up to a winning profile.
Combined with the strong history that Manning has against division rivals, we take the superior defensive team plus te points as my PICK for this game. The Broncos are favorited on the NFL odds board so be sure to make this your ATS winning pick for Thursday Night.
NFL Picks: Denver Broncos +3 (+102) at Pinnacle