The Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos have been rivals for more than 50 years and once again the teams will play with plenty on the line. Kansas City plays host to Denver on Sunday night after falling victim to the upset of the year, losing to the previously 0-10 Oakland Raiders. With that loss, the Chiefs come into Sunday a game behind the Broncos in the AFC West standings.
Unfortunately for Kansas City, things more important than football have taken center stage this week. All-Pro safety Eric Berry was ruled out for the season with a mass in his chest, thought likely to be lymphoma. With their emotional leader out, the secondary will face an even more difficult challenge against Peyton Manning on national television.
Berry was out for five games earlier this season with a high ankle sprain, and Kansas City managed to go 4-1 with wins against the Patriots, Chargers, Dolphins and Rams. The Chiefs boast the best pass defense in the NFL, giving up a paltry 199 yards per game. Justin Houston has been a huge reason for Kansas City's success, leading the NFL with 13 sacks.
For the Broncos, they will likely try to run the ball early and often against a Chiefs defense that ranks last in the league with five yards allowed per attempt. Last week, Denver rushed 35 times, with third-string back C.J. Anderson piling up 167 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. Anderson will earn another start in Kansas City with Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman still recovering from injuries.
Of course, Manning will still be throwing frequently, testing a secondary which is yet to allow a 300-yard passer. Manning was 21-of-26 against the Chiefs during a 24-17 Week 2 victory, but was limited to only 242 yards. The matchup to watch will be Demaryius Thomas against Sean Smith on the outside. Smith is a large, physical corner who will attempt to bump-and-run all night in press coverage.
How to Watch
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City
When: 8:25 p.m. ET
Announcers: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth
For more on the Broncos, head over to Mile High Report.
To keep up on the Chiefs, check out Arrowhead Pride.