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Broncos Ready for AFC West Showdown

Posted Nov 12, 2011

The Broncos are set for a Week 10 matchup in Kansas City with the division-rival Chiefs.


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Matchups within the division are always critical, but when each team starts the week separated by a single game in the standings, the outcome is even more impactful.

That’s scenario in the AFC West as the 3-5 Broncos and 4-4 Chiefs get set to meet at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday.

On Thursday, the Raiders edged the Chargers 24-17 to move to the top of the division standings with a 5-4 record as San Diego fell to 4-5 on the year.

Tomorrow the Broncos will try to keep one game between themselves and the Raiders while Kansas City looks to tie Oakland for the division lead.

In short, this is a pivotal AFC West showdown.

“We know how important this game is,” wide receiver Eric Decker said. “When you play a division rival and you’ve got a chance to position yourself (near) the top, we’ve got to take full advantage of it.”

Denver enters the contest having just beaten the Raiders 38-24 in Oakland behind a complete team effort. The Broncos ran for almost 300 yards on the ground, forced three turnovers on defense and scored a special teams touchdown thanks to an Eddie Royal punt return.

Kansas City meanwhile, is coming off a 31-3 loss to the Miami Dolphins – a defeat that ended a four-game winning streak.

One team is looking to get back on track while the other looks to carry over some momentum, but regardless of what happened last week, the Broncos are expecting the Chiefs’ best effort with AFC West positioning up for grabs.

“Those guys are going to be ready. They’re going to be pumped,” running back Willis McGahee said. “They’re going to try to stop us, because we just came off a win.”

“They will be very focused and very motivated,” quarterback Tim Tebow added. “So we will have to go in and try to execute early. I want to try to take the crowd out of it and also get that momentum going early for us.”

To produce the fast start on the road Tebow and the offense covet, they’ll look to build off a dominant offensive performance in Oakland.

Tebow tossed two touchdown passes but it was Denver’s newly-installed read-option offense that stole the show, opening up running lanes for both McGahee and Tebow as the duo ran for 281 combined yards.

The Broncos and their fifth-ranked rushing attack hope to have similar success tomorrow against Kansas City’s 3-4 scheme.

“We’re just going to run our offense,” Tebow said. “Kansas City has a very good defense, and they do some things very well. They are very well coached, and they have some big time playmakers. We just have to execute.”

Defensively, the Broncos will look to continue their turnover trend.

The Chiefs have lost seven fumbles on the year and quarterback Matt Cassel has thrown nine interceptions.

Safety Brian Dawkins and Co. would like to add to those totals by containing running back Jackie Battle and forcing Cassel into mistakes.

“If you can get turnovers and not turn the ball over, that gives you an excellent chance to win the ball game,” Dawkins said. “Those things come in bunches. You have a drought for a while, and all of a sudden they start coming in bunches and bunches. Hopefully, we’re in that bunch stage.” 

The Broncos have grown in confidence after returning home with wins on their previous two road trips and tomorrow they’ll strive to beat another division rival on its home field as they heated AFC West race continues.

“We’ve got to take care of what’s in front of us and not worry about what’s down the road,” cornerback Champ Bailey said. “Just got to take care of our business as we go.”