Will the Kansas City Chiefs beat Peyton Manning?

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Sep 14, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) reacts at the line of scrimmage during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

As many Kansas City Chiefs fans know, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is 6-0 since moving to Denver against Kansas City. The Broncos have won four straight AFC West titles, and have dominated the Chiefs in recent years. The target for head coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey in this 2015 season is to win the AFC West and maybe, just maybe, finally win a playoff game. To do that, they must overcome the Broncos and Manning.

Kansas City will host Denver in Week 2 and then will play the repeat contest eight weeks later in Denver. If the Chiefs are to finally record a win against Denver, the first matchup looks more likely, simply because it is played at Arrowhead Stadium, one of the most difficult places to go and win at. The home crowd does offer a major advantage for Bob Sutton and his defense in disrupting Peyton’s meticulous pre-snap planning, and is a factor that should not be underestimated in determining the victor.

For Kansas City to be celebrating victory against the Broncos, the Chiefs’ secondary must hold up. In recent memory Manning has been able to slice through Kansas City’s defensive backfield with ease, even with Justin Houston and Tamba Hali bearing down on him.

Other than Sean Smith, the Chiefs’ corners were inconsistent. Marcus Cooper and Jamell Fleming played well in moments, but struggled in man coverage. Phillip Gaines had a very promising season for a rookie and Ron Parker was horrible to watch at corner. Manning, being Manning, was able to expose those weaknesses using Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders extensively. Cooper, in particular, struggled in the Week 2 game with Denver, allowing 132 yards on nine targets.

At Arrowhead, it was C.J. Anderson that delivered the damage on offense for Denver. Kansas City struggled against the run all season long and Anderson continually tormented the Chiefs’ defense. Anderson had a massive 106 yards after contact and 3.3 yards after contact per attempt. Those are monstrous numbers from any running back. For a running back alongside a passing offense conducted by Peyton Manning? That is a recipe for disaster. Perhaps the worst stat from a Kansas City perspective is the 13 missed tackles Anderson was able to force. For the Chiefs to win, the run defense must also be solidified.

A few weeks ago I wrote how Andy Reid and Bob Sutton can improve the run defense. One key area is the improvement in the secondary. This is key when considering the match up against the Broncos. A strong secondary against Manning is crucial.

Next: Why 2015 will be different...