ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Time is most definitely not on the Denver Broncos' side. It has been, instead, a luxury the Kansas City Chiefs have had in the days leading up to Sunday’s game in Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
The Chiefs last played Nov. 1 – a 45-10 victory over the Detroit Lions in London – so by the time Sunday’s game rolls around they will have had the benefit of 14 days to prepare, to think, to create. The Broncos believe they will see some things they didn’t see in the Week 2 matchup between the teams because of all that.
Because in Week 2, the Broncos and Chiefs played on Thursday night with the shortest week of preparation the NFL has to offer – “so sometimes you get a pretty vanilla look from people and give a pretty vanilla look because of the turnaround,’’ as Broncos coach Gary Kubiak put it.
“I expect more,’’ Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said. “Not something that you haven't seen because they run every formation. From Philadelphia to Kansas City and playing against [Chiefs coach Andy Reid], they run so many different formations that you can't name them all. You couldn't put them all down in a book, I don't think. I expect to see a lot of things from him, but not something we've never seen because I think he's run everything you could possibly run.’’
“They do a lot of things, lot of movement, lot of motion,’’ Broncos linebacker Von Miller said. “You have to be kind of ready for all of that.’’
The Chiefs did construct the second-longest scoring play against the Broncos this season with Jamaal Charles’ 34-yard touchdown run. It still is the second-longest rushing play overall the Broncos' defense has surrendered and the third-longest play overall.
Charles will not face the Broncos this time around after a season-ending knee injury. In the passing game the Chiefs are one of just three teams to have mustered four completions of at least 20 yards against the Broncos’ No. 1 pass defense this season.
And Kansas City did it with their tight ends as James O'Shaughnessy had two of the catches and Travis Kelce had one. The Chiefs ruled O’Shaughnessy out of Sunday’s game after the team’s practice Friday.
Offensively the Broncos also expect the Chiefs’ defense to try to create some things at the line of scrimmage.
“Oh yeah, absolutely,’’ Kubiak said. “The first time we played them, there was three days of preparation. Now they've had, I guess, 12 or 13 days to prepare for it. Yeah, you're going to probably see some things different. It's always that way within a division the second time around. They're a good football team. They've been playing very well, and they're going to be as fresh as you can be in this league. We know that.’’
Justin Houston sacked Manning twice in the Sept. 17 meeting as the Broncos were able to carve out just 61 yards rushing – at 2.6 yards per carry. Kubiak said he fully expected to see an aggressive approach by the Chiefs’ defense.
“They get guys loose, they're going to bring more than you have sometimes,’’ Kubiak said. “That's a big problem with these guys. They really rush the passer well. They play a lot of man behind it, so we're going to have to get our work done quickly on the back end and get the ball gone, but I think that's what they do best. They can get to the quarterback. There are probably going to be some times where they have more than we have, so the ball has to go.’’