Chiefs vs. Broncos: Five Players To Watch


The Kansas City Chiefs will look to rebound from their third humiliating loss of the NFL season at the hands of the Miami Dolphins when Tim Tebow and the Broncos come to town.

The 2011 Chiefs have shown to be extremely resilient but also prone to horrendous meltdowns.

Here are five players that can help KC get back on track Sunday vs. the Broncos.

Tamba Hali

Hali got shut down by the Dolphins last week and for the Chiefs to be successful on defense that simply can’t happen. Hali is getting double-teamed constantly and he isn’t getting any help from the team’s other pass rushers. While that may not be fair, Hali is a franchise guy and his job is to be great no matter what.

Hali must return to form Sunday or the Chiefs will continue to get carved up by opposing QB’s…even Tim Tebow.

Derrick Johnson

The Broncos are probably going to try to run the option on Sunday. If Eric Berry was on the field with DJ, that would be pretty much an impossible task. As it stands, Berry is on the shelf and that leaves DJ as the defense’s speediest, physical defender. Johnson will need to use his sideline-to-sideline speed to keep the Broncos from getting around the edge. If he doesn’t, it could be a long day for the KC run D.

Matt Cassel

Cassel wasn’t protected very well last week but he also didn’t do a very good job of dealing with Miami’s blitzing. If the Broncos try something similar, then there will be favorable matchups for the KC receivers. Someone is going to be in one on one coverage. Cassel has to find them, fast, and deliver an accurate throw. Taking off and running will work once and a while but if Cassel keeps running like he did vs. the Dolphins, Tyler Palko will be the Chiefs’  starting QB faster than you can say Brodie Croyle.

Dwayne Bowe

Bowe has had difficulties with Champ Bailey in the past. He can’t afford to have any difficulties this week. I expect the Chiefs to employ some similar strategies to those they used in the Indy game this week. The Chiefs were worried about the Colts’ pass rush and so they burned them on some slant and crossing routes. The only difference is that Bowe was abusing a rookie CB vs. the Colts and Champ Bailey is no rookie. Bowe has to show up and provide Matt Cassel with an outlet.

Andy Studebaker/Justin Houston

These two get grouped together because they are splitting time at the same spot. Again, this comes back to the Broncos and their tendency to run the option. KC’s OLB’s have got to protect the edges so that Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr can concentrate on blanketing the Denver receivers thus forcing Tim Tebow into making bad decisions with the football.

If the edges aren’t set and the option is working then the Broncos won’t need to throw and if they don’t need to throw, the Chiefs could be in trouble.

Those are my five players to watch. Who are yours?