Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (-3, 42 o/u)
Despite picking up the win on Sunday, Peyton Manning and the rest of the Denver offense was anything but impressive in Week 1. The Broncos (1-0, 0-0 Away) have little time to regroup, as well, as they visit AFC West rivals the Kansas City Chiefs (1-0, 0-0 Home) this Thursday at Arrowhead Stadium (8:25 PM Eastern).
Manning and the rest of the offense only recorded 219 total yards in a 19-13 win over the Baltimore Ravens. The Broncos did manage to cover the spread, but it was thanks to a defense which forced two turnovers, including a pick-six and a game-sealing interception on the last drive of the game.
Peyton Manning’s numbers were more than pedestrian; he completed 24 of 40 passes for just 175 yards and one interception. That continued a string of bad performances dating back to last season as he has thrown only four touchdowns in his last six regular season games.
Manning and company appeared to struggle with the scheme new head coach Gary Kubiak is trying to put together.
“We better figure out something, and fast,” receiver Demaryius Thomas told NFL.com. “We can’t really rely on the defense scoring more points than the offense every week. We haven’t scored a touchdown … in this new offense, even in the preseason. We’ve gotta figure it out very soon.”
Their running game never got going, either, posting only 69 yards on the ground and averaging 2.8 yards per carry on 25 attempts.
Meanwhile, Kansas City took advantage of a dreadful Texans offense in Week 1, forcing two turnovers near Houston’s red zone, jumping out to a 27-6 lead, and then putting it in cruise control for a 27-20 road win.
Quarterback Alex Smith was exceptional, completing 22 of 33 passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns, but he was also helped a lot by the short field opportunities created by the defense.
“We got [a] couple of turnovers in the red zone and were able to capitalize and I think in the end that was the difference,” Smith told the Associated Press.
It wasn’t all sunshine and roses for the Chiefs; Kansas City was actually outgained by Houston 396 to 330 total yards, and was awful on third down, completing only 3 of 13 opportunities. They’ll be looking to clean up those issues come Week 2.
Since Manning joined the Denver Broncos in 2012, he is 6-0 straight up against Kansas City and 4-2 against the spread.
Kansas City’s victory over Houston is a little overblown, given that Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett were the opposing QBs yet the Chiefs still got outgained. We didn’t see the best of Manning on Sunday, but he has owned the Chiefs and will do it again on Thursday.
Pick: Denver (+3).
(Photo Credit: Jeffrey Beall (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)
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