KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Sports reporter Raul Martinez thinks the Broncos will win at Kansas City on Thursday night and here’s why.
- Peyton Manning is playing with a chip on his shoulder: I don’t know if you could tell, but after the Broncos win against the Ravens, the quarterback was a bit grumpy during the post-game news conference. Manning struggled against Baltimore and all week it seems as if people are writing him off. Don’t be surprised if he’s paying attention and using that as fuel against the Chiefs.It also might be a good thing that it was a short week of rest as well to get the bad taste out of his mouth from week one and regroup and get back on track.Manning has struggled to hit the deep ball with Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas; Expect a few shots down the field because defenses are going to dare him to do it until he does, and he may do it on Thursday night.
- Better balance on offense: Where was the run game in week one? If Manning is going to throw it 40 times like he did against Baltimore, then why not go back to the no-huddle, hurry-hurry offense where they put up insane points the last 3 seasons? Pound the rock. Use a fullback. Grind this game out.Gary Kubiak and Rick Dennison will have a better game plan against the Chiefs that involves getting C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman more touches. They only rushed 25 times for 69 yards. I know the Ravens are stout against the run, but if you look at that final drive Denver had against them, it was exactly what you were expecting with this new-look O. It was a 17 plays (Six passes and 11 rushes), 81 yards and 10:56 off the clock that resulted in a field goal.Now all they need to do is figure out how to put it in the end zone and that will likely happen. If the Broncos mix it up more against the Chiefs, you give your defense more rest, wear down the Kansas City D and that’s where the 4th quarter is won.
- The offensive will be much better: This group was pretty bad against the Ravens. That’s to be expected with two young guys and a guy who just joined the team a few weeks ago. Manning was sacked four times (Most since at Indy in 2013) and they committed three false starts and a delay of game. Pro Bowler Evan Mathis said he was the worst of the group so expect a better performance against the Chiefs.hey will be tested though — Kansas City will bring the pressure and Justin Houston and Tamba Hali will be tough to stop, but with a game under their belts watch Ty Sambrailo and Mathis to improve on the left side which means Peyton won’t be on the ground so much.
- Dominant defense continues: When John Elway watched the Seahawks destroy the Broncos in the Super Bowl just two seasons ago, you know he wanted what Seattle had. Now he’s got it. You saw what they are capable of with the way they dominated the Ravens. Even better news? Safety T.J. Ward is back from suspension. This defense has it all and should be solid against the Chiefs.The key to victory is shutting down two guys. Running back Jamaal Charles and tight end Travis Kelce can be game-changers. Stack the box to stop Charles and maybe think about putting Aqib Talib on Kelce. Heck, since he’s their biggest weapon in the pass game, they might even double-team him. Chris Harris can handle Jeremy Maclin one-on-one and Alex Smith will struggle at home.
- Special teams to play an important role: Just like last week, Brandon McManus will continue to show off the leg. He’ll continue to put the ball in the back of the end zone on kickoffs and if he’s needed to kick some long field goals, you know he can. He went 4-for-4 including a 57 and 56 yarder. And in the punt return game, don’t be surprised if Emmanuel Sanders pops one off. He’s explosive and if he doesn’t score a touchdown, you know he’ll find ways to get them excellent field position.