The Chiefs have yet to beat Peyton Manning since he joined AFC West rival Broncos. And oddsmakers don't expect that to change week 10 as the Broncos are 6-point favorites on the NFL odds board.
Chiefs Turning Things Around?
I ruled Kansas City's season as over when the Chiefs (3-5) lost Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles, who WAS their offense, for the season in an 18-17 last-minute home loss to Chicago in Week 5. And predictably the Chiefs lost the next week without Charles, managing 10 points at Minnesota.
But maybe this team has a pulse. It caught a major break in Week 7 when Pittsburgh visited Arrowhead Stadium and had to start third-string quarterback Landry Jones because Ben Roethlisberger was hurt. Jones was not good and Kansas City won 23-13. And then in Week 8 in London, the Chiefs got another break because the Lions had just fired a few offensive coaches, including their coordinator. Detroit played without any heart as Kansas City rolled 45-10 at Wembley Stadium. Alex Smith threw for 145 yards and two scores while rushing five times for 78 yards and touchdown. Charcandrick West, the guy replacing Charles, rushed 20 times for 97 yards and a score. He also had a big game against the Steelers. Might a second-year undrafted free agent from Abilene Christian save Kansas City's bacon?
The Kansas City defense also has shown signs of life the past two games, but, again, that's against a third-string QB in Jones and a Lions offense that has been lost all season. Kansas City has three straight games with at least two interceptions, its best run in more than a decade. The Chiefs had only six picks all last year.
If the Chiefs could pull the upset here, they might be in the wild-card chase. In Week 11, it's a trip to San Diego, which has just about no healthy players left and is last in the division. Then four of Kansas City's final six are at home. None of those six remaining teams -- Bills, Raiders, Chargers again, Ravens, Browns, Raiders again -- currently have a winning record.
Kansas City, which is pretty healthy off its bye week, is 3-5 against the spread on NFL odds and 5-3 'over/under.'
Broncos Look To Avoid First Losing Skid
Denver (7-1) was the only one of the four 7-0 teams to lose last week as the Broncos were upset in Indianapolis 27-24 in what no doubt will be Peyton Manning's final game in the city he once owned. The Colts' Adam Vinatieri hit the winning 55-yard field goal with 6:13 left.
Manning completed 21-for-36 for 281 yards and two touchdowns but two more interceptions, which have been an issue all year. He is 3 yards short of breaking Brett Favre's all-time mark of 71.838 passing yards. Manning also remains tied with Favre with 186 regular-season wins. So it looks to be a historic night in Denver.
The Broncos' excellent defense, which is No. 1 in yards (274.1) and points (17.4 ppg) allowed as well as with 30 sacks, is going to be down two Pro Bowl players in outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware and cornerback Aqib Talib. Ware, who has 6.5 sacks, is out a few weeks with a back injury. Talib intentionally poked Colts tight end Dwayne Allen in the eye and was suspended one game. Talib has three interceptions on the season and has returned two for touchdowns. Talib is a loss, but the Broncos have good depth in the secondary. Bradley Roby, the team's 2014 first-round pick, will likely move into the starting role.
Denver is 5-3 ATS on NFL picks and 3-5 'over/under.'
One could argue that Kansas City's season went into the tank due to a Week 2 home loss on Thursday night to Denver. It sure looked like the Chiefs were going to open the season 2-0. They took a 24-17 lead with 2:27 left in the fourth quarter on a Knile Davis 8-yard run. But that left Manning too much time. He drove the Broncos downfield and tied the game on a 19-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders with 36 seconds left. Then came perhaps the most stunning ending this NFL season. On the Chiefs' next offensive play following a touchback, Kansas City coach Andy Reid made the odd call to not try and pass to get into field-goal range or simply take a knee and head to overtime. Instead, Charles took a handoff but was stripped by Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall. The ball bounced right to Roby, and he returned it 21 yards for the winning touchdown. Charles had 125 yards rushing and a TD but also lost a fumble early in the Denver red zone. Smith was 16-for-25 for 191 yards with two picks. Manning was 26-for-45 for 256 yards, three TDs and an interception. Demaryius Thomas caught eight balls for 116 yards, and Sanders caught eight for 87 and two scores. Kansas City would lose its next four games after that crushing defeat.
NFL Free Picks
Surprised this is under 7 (some books it's not). Give those 6 before it rises everywhere. Go 'UNDER.' The Chiefs are 2-6 ATS in their past seven vs. teams with a winning record. They are 1-6 ATS in their past seven on the road. Denver is 10-1 ATS in its past 11 after a loss. The 'under' is 4-0 in the Broncos' past four at home. The 'under' is 7-2-1 in the past 10 meetings.