2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Chiefs, Manning get some solid answers Sunday

By EDDIE PELLS - AP National Writer
    2013-11-14 17:35

DENVER (AP) - The Kansas City Chiefs are the NFL's worst undefeated team.

Peyton Manning is the league's most vulnerable 300-yards-a-game passer.

It's not often that so many doubts hover over teams and players who have been so good.

Some of the questions will be resolved Sunday night when the Chiefs (9-0) play the Broncos (8-1) in an AFC West meeting between teams with a .944 winning percentage - best combined record of two opponents this deep into the season since the NFL merger in 1970.

But not all the questions. Because they meet again in two weeks.

''The NFL has a system in place to find out who's the best,'' said Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, who has fielded repeated questions about the softness of Kansas City's schedule through nine games. ''The speculation of nine weeks in, who's the best team, for me, it's kind of pointless. Who cares? I want to be the best team come February.''

A win for Kansas City would go a long way toward that goal. The Chiefs, whose nine straight victories have come against teams with a combined .357 winning percentage, could take a two-game lead over the Broncos with an early edge in the tiebreaker and a rematch coming up Dec. 1 at home.

If the Broncos win, they'll move into a tie in the AFC West with the toughest stretch of their season - at New England and Kansas City - coming up next.

The buzz about Manning's record-pace of 3,249 yards and 33 touchdowns this season has been replaced this week by concerns over his ankles. They have been bugging him for about a month now and got worse when a Chargers lineman dived at them at the end of last week's game.

The Broncos get ready to protect him while facing the league's top sacks defense; linebackers Justin Houston (11) and Tamba Hali (9) have combined for 20 of Kansas City's 36 sacks. The Chiefs also lead the league with a plus-15 turnover margin.

In a matchup between top offense and top defense, who usually wins?

''Well, the NFL definitely made it harder for a really good defense in this league, but you have to play the game to find that out,'' Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said. ''It could go either way. We know what kind of defense they have and we know what kind of offense we have.''

Five things to look for Sunday in ''The Game of the Year, Part I:''

PEYTON'S ANKLES: An MRI showed no new damage to Manning's ankle after last week and Manning has been saying all along he'll play. Still, it's hard to put a measure on the week-after-week toll of having players diving at his feet, let alone sacking and stripping him from the blind side, which has happened in the last three games. ''It's part of football,'' Manning insists. Clearly, though, this is not the perfect week to be going up against the league's top sacks team.

KC KEEPING UP: The Chiefs' defense has scored five touchdowns this season. The offense: four TDs over the last three games. The Broncos average 41.2 points a game. Even if the Kansas City defense keeps Manning and Co., in partial check, and even if the defense scores a few points itself, it figures there will be at least some pressure on Smith and the KC offense to score a bit. The Chiefs rank 26th on converting trips inside the 20 into touchdowns (82.8 percent). ''You want sevens, and when you get them, the chances of winning go up,'' Smith said.

BRRRR: Temperatures are forecast to be in the 30s for kickoff, which means Manning could very well don his cold-weather glove for the first time this season. The last time he wore it in a meaningful situation, the Broncos lost to Baltimore in the playoffs in single-digit weather. The time before that, they beat Kansas City 38-3 in the 2012 regular-season finale.

Either way, Manning is far less effective when the weather is cold - 8-10 lifetime when the temperature is 40 or below - and the surgeries he's had on his neck have caused some nerve degeneration that make it harder for him to grip the football when the temperature drops.

DISTRACTION BOWL: The Broncos adjusted well with Jack Del Rio taking over for John Fox while Fox rests at home following heart surgery. This week, the glare of the distractions goes to Kansas City's side, where receiver Dwayne Bowe was arrested last weekend during the team's bye and charged with speeding and possession of marijuana. Coach Andy Reid has said virtually nothing, other than that his star receiver would play and start. The Chiefs need him. Hard to match the Broncos point for point without the man who has caught more passes (33) for more yards (369) than any Kansas City wideout.

RUNNING BACKS: If the Chiefs are going to win, it would figure Jamaal Charles will have a(nother) big game. He leads the Chiefs in both yards rushing (725) and receiving (389). Yet, strange as it sounds for a team led by Manning, Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno could have every bit as big an impact for the Denver offense.

Moreno kept his starting job this season because he's best at protecting Manning. As Manning's protection has faltered a bit and teams have pressed the Denver receivers, Moreno has turned into his quarterback's favorite target: He leads the team in receptions over the last four games, with 24.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow Eddie Pells on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AP-epells

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Drew StantonDec 17 07:33p

Arizona Cardinals QB Drew Stanton (knee) said this injury is different from any other he's ever had, and he said it's too soon to know if he could return [ More ]

Carlos HydeDec 17 07:03p

San Francisco 49ers RBs Frank Gore (concussion) and Carlos Hyde (ankle) did not take part in practice Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Jay CutlerDec 17 06:43p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler will be benched in favor of QB Jimmy Clausen in Week 16 against the Detroit Lions, according to a source.

Jimmy ClausenDec 17 06:43p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler will be benched in favor of QB Jimmy Clausen in Week 16 against the Detroit Lions, according to a source.

Philip RiversDec 17 06:13p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (chest, back) took part in a walkthrough Wednesday, Dec. 17, but didn't take part in practice, but he fully expects to play in [ More ]

Carlos HydeDec 17 05:43p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (knee, back) received good news from his MRI results, but he said it would take a miracle for him to play in Week [ More ]

Robbie GouldDec 17 04:53p

Chicago Bears PK Robbie Gould (quadriceps) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Cam NewtonDec 17 04:13p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) was listed as a limited participant in practice Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Frank GoreDec 17 03:13p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) visited with a doctor at the team's facility Tuesday, Dec. 16, as part of the NFL's concussion protocol. Gore did not participate [ More ]

Ryan MathewsDec 17 02:33p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) is not participating in practice Wednesday, Dec. 17.

C.J. SpillerDec 17 02:13p

Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Blake BortlesDec 17 01:53p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles (foot) was limited during practice Wednesday, Dec. 17, and is listed as questionable for Week 16.

Julio JonesDec 17 01:43p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is not participating in the portion of practice open to the media Wednesday, Dec. 17.

DeMarco MurrayDec 17 01:33p

Updating a previous report, Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) wasn't expected to do a lot at practice Wednesday, Dec. 17, but he took first-team snaps at running back [ More ]

Cam NewtonDec 17 01:23p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) returned to practice Wednesday, Dec. 17, and he worked with the second-team offense in the portion of practice open to the media. QB [ More ]

DeMarco MurrayDec 17 12:43p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) is participating in individual drills during practice Wednesday, Dec. 17.

T Y HiltonDec 17 12:23p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) is not participating during the media-access portion of practice Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Rashad JenningsDec 17 11:23a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) will not participate in practice Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Keenan AllenDec 17 11:03a

San Diego Chargers WR Keenan Allen (collarbone, ankle) said he is taking his injuries 'week to week.'

Denard RobinsonDec 17 10:13a

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Denard Robinson (foot) has a partially torn ligament in his foot, according to head coach Gus Bradley. Recovery time is six to eight weeks, but he [ More ]

Marc TrestmanDec 16 09:33p

The Chicago Bears are expected to fire head coach Marc Trestman, according to a source. The team's ownership met Tuesday, Dec. 16, after the team's Week 15 loss against [ More ]

Julio JonesDec 16 09:33p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is expected to be ready to play in Week 16 against the New Orleans Saints. However, offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter indicated the possibility [ More ]

Zach MettenbergerDec 16 06:43p

Tennessee Titans QB Zach Mettenberger (shoulder) missed practice for the second straight day Tuesday, Dec. 16.

DeMarco MurrayDec 16 05:53p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) will likely be a game-time decision against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 16, according to owner Jerry Jones. Jones said the team is [ More ]

Julius ThomasDec 16 05:33p

Denver Broncos TE Virgil Green continued to lead the team's tight ends in snaps with 50 in Week 15 against the San Diego Chargers, even with TE Julius Thomas [ More ]

Aaron RodgersDec 16 05:23p

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is 0-2 with a 35.6 total quarterback rating at Tampa Bay in his career. He threw three interceptions in each of those games.

Blake BortlesDec 16 04:23p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles (foot) was jogging, throwing and moving around well while being limited at practice Thursday, Dec. 16. He showed no signs of being limited by [ More ]

Colt McCoyDec 16 04:23p

Updating a previous report, Washington Redskins QB Colt McCoy (neck) was told by doctors that he only needs two to three weeks for the aggravated nerve in his neck [ More ]

Keenan AllenDec 16 04:13p

Updating a previous report, San Diego Chargers WR Keenan Allen (collarbone) could be placed on Reserve/Injured if the team is eliminated from playoff contention. Allen will not play this [ More ]

Ryan MathewsDec 16 02:43p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) did not practice Tuesday, Dec. 16.

Colt McCoyDec 16 02:33p

Washington Redskins QB Colt McCoy (neck) was placed on season-ending Reserve/Injured Tuesday, Dec. 16, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

Keenan AllenDec 16 02:33p

San Diego Chargers WR Keenan Allen (collarbone) suffered a broken collarbone in Week 15 and is not expected to play this week. Surgery is not planned at this point [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group