Chiefs vs. Broncos: Five things to watch

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Nov 2, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs fans show their support during the first half against the New York Jets at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

5. Peyton Manning Against the Entire Chiefs Kingdom

Thursday should be a big game for no other reason than that two good teams are playing. But there are a plethora of other reasons.

There is the fact that it is a primetime, nationally televised game. As mentioned above, there is the fact that whoever wins will take an early lead in the division. But most of all, there is the fact that the Chiefs still have not beaten Manning as a Bronco, and if ever there was a time to do so, it would be now.

Ever since he joined the Orange Horsemen in 2012, Manning has been a giant thorn in the side of every Chiefs player, coach, and fan. But Denver’s iron grip on the division has been weakening.

With an impressive showing to start the season against Houston, and a not-at-all impressive start to the season by Manning and the Broncos (the entire Denver offense accounted for only one touchdown – and that was an interception returned by the Ravens), the Sea of Red should be firing on all cylinders for Kansas City’s home opener. Gary Kubiak’s team should find themselves facing a very determined group, and an insanely noisy crowd making the game as difficult as possible.

The Chiefs have been here though. In Week 13 of last season to be exact. Denver came into Arrowhead leading the division at 8-3, with Kansas City only a game behind at 7-4.  The AFC West was still very much in play. The Chiefs wore “Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Berry” shirts and all red uniforms to honor Eric Berry, and they were playing in primetime in the loudest stadium on Earth. They had every reason to come out with their hair on fire and break the curse of Manning.

But that did not happen. Instead, fans watched in disbelief as a team that had just ended a five-game winning streak fell apart in inexplicable fashion. If K.C. repeats that performance, then this could be a much longer season than we expected.

Thursday, however, I expect to be different than last season. These Chiefs are better than last year. And while Manning is unlikely to have the same kind of down game two weeks in a row, these Broncos are more vulnerable.

I can think of few things to set the stage for the rest of the season better than a statement win over the Broncos to stay undefeated.