The Armchair Quarterback’s Take Of The Week
This Week Will Show Us If The NFL Is Really All About Offense
This week the 9-0 Kansas City Chiefs travel to Denver to take on the 8-1 Broncos in a great Sunday Night Football match up. This game is intriguing for several reasons. First and foremost, it’s a match up of two of the best teams (record wise) in the NFL. The Seattle Seahawks are the only other team with one loss or less. Every other team has at least two loses. It’s also a game that will have major ramifications on who gets home field advantage in the AFC. A Kansas City win would give them a two game lead on the Broncos with a rematch in Arrowhead Stadium remaining. A Denver win would even things back up with six games remaining. Plus, this game is considered the first true test for the undefeated Chiefs. The Chiefs nine previous wins have all come against teams that currently have a .500 record or worse.
If that was it, this would still be a greatly anticipated match up. However, the top reason that many are anxiously awaiting this game is because of the contrasting make ups of these teams. You literally could not have more polar opposites.
The Broncos are the best offense in the league, hands down. They are first in the NFL in both yards per game (458.7) and points per game (41.2). In what is considered to be a “quarterback’s league” they are first in passing yards per game (353.4), yards per attempt (8.8), touchdowns (33), and QB Rating (120.6). In a league with several truly explosive offenses, the Broncos are the elite of the elite. If you had to describe their offense in one word, “wow” would be a good choice.
The Chiefs on the other hand are very mediocre on offense. They rank 24th in yards per game (317.3) and 14th in points per game (23.9). The PPG number is only higher because of their multiple defensive and special teams touchdowns. In a passing league, they rank 27th in passing yards per game (198.3), 30th in yards per attempt (6.1), 27th in passing TDs (9), and 20th in QB Rating (81.4). While Jamaal Charles is having another excellent season, it hasn’t been enough to make this offense dangerous. If you had to describe their offense in one word, “meh” would probably be appropriate.
However, when you look at the defenses of these two teams the rolls are reversed.
Kansas City leads the league in points per game allowed (12.3), takeaways (23), and sacks (36). They are a respectable 10th in yards per game allowed (326.9). Going into week 10, Pro Football Focus had KC outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston ranked at #1 and #2 in the entire NFL for QB disruptions. When their offense has failed to put games away this defense has come up with key stops, sacks, and turnovers every single game. If you had to describe this defense in one word, it would probably be “relentless”.
The Denver defense looks a lot like the Kansas City offense. They aren’t awful, but they are definitely below average. They rank 23rd in yards per game allowed (374.9), 25th in points per game allowed (26.4), 13th in sacks (26), and have forced 16 turnovers. With Denver getting Von Miller back from suspension and hoping to eventually have a healthy Champ Bailey, there is hope for this unit improving, but currently their defense belongs in the “meh” category along with the KC offense.
That is why this game is so intriguing. The match up of the Denver offense against the KC defense is clearly the most anticipated football matchup of the NFL season thus far. If Denver lights up the KC defense like a pinball machine it will go a long way towards proving the widely perceived view that great QB play is the key to winning in today’s NFL. However, if the KC defense shuts down the vaunted Denver offense, it will be a sign that maybe the old saying that “defense wins championships” still could hold true today.
So on Sunday night make sure you find yourself a good seat to watch this game and enjoy the match up of these two elite units. It should go a long way to showing us who is the team to beat in the AFC going forward and just maybe, what type of team is best built for success in 2013.
Now on to this week’s game predictions…….