Kansas City Chiefs: How the West was won in 2015

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Oct 19, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith (21) in the field during the fourth quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to a matchup between the Kansas City corners and the Denver wide receivers, their hands will be full enough without Welker causing any more problems. Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is one of three players in the history of the National Football League to gain more than 1,400 yards in three straight seasons. The other two? Jerry Rice and Marvin Harrison.

Corners Sean Smith, Marcus Peters, Jamell Fleming and Phillip Gaines will have to share the problem that is Thomas but perhaps even more so with Emmanuel “The Traitor” Sanders, whose 4.41 speed will stretch the limits of the Chiefs’ corners abilities. I can see Kansas City going one-on-one against Thomas and giving more over-the-top help no matter where Sanders lines up. I expect the Chiefs to do more of that this season because that’s exactly what they did last year following 2013 when they got burned deep often, costing them a playoff victory.

It’s a bit of a shock to me that the Broncos didn’t improve their running back position. They needed to take one of the top two running backs in the draft but instead drafted a good outside linebacker — a position they didn’t need, I might add. Sounds like the Chiefs’ 2014 draft with Dee Ford. Since we’re talking about last year, let’s look back at how Kansas City and the Broncos did against each other last season.

In 2014, in the first matchup between the two teams, quarterback Alex Smith threw for 247 yards and Peyton Manning for 237 in a 24-17 defeat for the Chiefs. In the second contest, Smith threw for 110 yards and Manning for 174.

There are a bevy of factors for why Kansas City should handle Denver’s passing attack even better in 2015. The Broncos’ new system, loss of Thomas and Welker, overall changeover in personnel and the diminishing arm strength of Manning are all issues. Kansas City is seeing the return of Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito, along with the Chiefs’ ability to apply a more aggressive bump-and-run coverage scheme with Peters in the fold.

If Kansas City’s defensive backfield fares better in 2015 than it did in 2014, it should equal a win for the Chiefs. When you can hold Manning to an average of 205.5 yards passing per game (his season average is 295.4 yards per game), you’ve done well. There’s no reason not to expect the Chiefs to do as well or better in 2015.

Next: Kansas City should improve on offense in 2015