Thursday Night Football: Broncos at Chiefs

Thursday Night Football: Broncos at Chiefs

For better or worse, Thursday Night NFL Football is back. It’s no secret that the quality of play suffers greatly on only three days rest, but none of the powers that be are the least bit concerned, so these oft ugly matchups aren’t going anywhere. For the record, only four of the 14 Thursday nighters in 2014 were decided by less than 8 points, and six teams topped 30-plus points. Tonight’s slogfest pits AFC West rivals Denver and Kansas City, both of whom enter the fray 1-0. The Chiefs offense looked potent in Week 1, while Denver’s vaunted attack faceplanted. Don’t expect a lot of scoring in this one. Here’s a preview and prediction.

Denver at Kansas City -3 – Peyton Manning was 24-40 for 175 yards and a pick-six against Baltimore. Not good. The running game stalled and there were no explosive plays downfield. The always stout Ravens defense deserves credit, but even casual fans couldn’t help but notice that Peyton was a shadow of his Hall of Fame self. The Broncos won last year’s meeting in Kansas City due in large part to C.J. Anderson’s 185 total yards and one touchdown. He may need to deliver a repeat performance considering the sketchy passing game. On the plus side, the Denver D dominated in Week 1 and is poised to be one of the league’s best units.

Alex Smith occasionally plays like an elite quarterback as he did against Houston last Sunday, hitting 22-33 throws for 243 yards and three touchdowns. And if head coach Andy Reid didn’t flip the conservative switch, the numbers would’ve been even bigger. Budding star tight end Travis Kelce was unstoppable with six catches for 106 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Kelce joins Jamaal Charles and Jeremy Maclin to form a trio of weapons that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Combine the improved offense with a stingy defense that notched five sacks and an interception in the opener, and the Chiefs are a sleeper pick to win the conference title. To meet those lofty goals, they must defeat a Broncos franchise that has won the last six meetings.

Both teams covered in Week 1. Denver is 7-3 ATS in the last ten series’ showdowns. Kansas City is 11-5 ATS in its last sixteen games overall. These Chiefs look legit, and with Denver traveling on a short week, the home-cooking affords KC a decent advantage. If for no other reason, tune in for a chance to see Manning’s arm fall off.

Bet Kansas City -3