Prediction: Broncos 31, Chiefs 24

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Before we start dissecting Sunday’s game, let’s pause to remember that this is the one-year anniversary of the murder-suicide involving Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins. An incredibly sad day. Incredibly sad still that there’s a little girl out there without both of her parents.

The Chiefs were brought together by their quarterback, Brady Quinn, and the next day under some extreme circumstances went out and played the game of their season. Quinn may not have had the NFL career everyone expected of him, but he had that day, an achievement like few others in NFL history. That’s something no one will ever be able to take away from him.

On to some football. It’s difficult to know what to expect from the Chiefs anymore. Their pass defense is in tatters, and that was before the injuries to outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali.

The Chiefs don’t force turnovers, don’t score touchdowns and are no longer efficient in getting opposing offenses off the field. The swiftness and totality of their decline are incredible.

A lot of defensive players must improve quickly for the Chiefs tonight, none more important than their cornerbacks and safeties. The Chiefs allowed 187 yards after the catch to the Broncos in the meeting between the teams two weeks ago and then 228 to San Diego Chargers receivers in their game. Similar numbers mean certain doom again.

Meanwhile, the offense scored 38 points last week. That’s the encouraging news for the Chiefs. They were able to stay in and almost win a game that turned into a high-scoring affair. They’re going to need some points to outscore Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos today at Arrowhead Stadium.

Scoring well into the 30s will be more difficult against the Broncos than the Chargers. The Broncos are stronger across the board on defense than San Diego is. They’re faster defensively, more stout against the run, have stronger pass-rushers and are better in the secondary.

So I see this game as being like the last, with it getting away from the Chiefs once the score gets past a certain point. Two weeks ago against the Broncos, that point was the upper teens. Today, with the Chiefs playing at home, that number should be a touchdown higher.

Are the Chiefs in any shape defensively to hold the Broncos below that number? After the way they’ve played the past two weeks, it’s difficult to argue that they are.

Prediction: Broncos 31, Chiefs 24