Denver (9-2) at Kansas City (7-4) Sunday 4:15 pm EST
KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- The Kansas City Chiefs
opened a brutal closing stretch in impressive fashion.
On Sunday, the Chiefs look to move closer to the first-place
Denver Broncos when the AFC West rivals meet for the second
time this season.
Kansas City began a stretch of six straight games against teams
with winning records to end the season with a 26-16 victory over
two-time defending Super Bowl champion New England last Sunday.
The victory over the Patriots helped the Chiefs remain tied
with San Diego for second place in the AFC West, two games
Denver made an early statement within the division this season
with a 30-10 victory over Kansas City on September 26 in a
Monday night game.
Jake Plummer went an efficient 13-of-18 for 152 yards and a
touchdown and also ran for a score and Mike Anderson rushed for
98 yards and a score to pace the Broncos. Denver also received
a big effort from its defense, which held Kansas City out of
the end zone until the waning moments.
The Broncos did a stellar job against the Chiefs' vaunted
running game, holding the duo of Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson
to 74 yards on 22 carries.
Holmes is now sidelined for the season, but Johnson has played
well in his absence. Johnson has four straight 100-yard games
and is 32 yards shy of his first 1,000-yard season.
Johnson's impressive run will be tested against the Broncos, who
allow just 79.1 yards per game on the ground to rank first in
The Broncos ran their winning streak to four games with a 24-21
overtime victory at Dallas on Thanksgiving. Picking up the
slack for Tatum Bell, who missed the game with a shoulder
injury, Ron Dayne rushed for 98 yards and a touchdown. The
former Heisman Trophy winner busted loose for a 55-yard run in
overtime to set up Jason Elam's 24-yard field goal.
It is crunch time in the AFC West, which is shaping up as the AFC's most competitive division. For the visiting Broncos, Sunday's trip to Arrowhead Stadium serves as an opportunity to distance themselves from the pack. Led by QB Jake Plummer, Denver's balanced offensive attack will look to control tempo versus a Kansas City defense that picked off New England QB Tom Brady four times last week.
The schedule down the stretch for the Chiefs is very difficult, which makes Sunday's home game versus the division-leading Broncos that much more critical. In order to capitalize, RB Larry Johnson must use his bruising running style to overpower Denver's athletic linebacking corps, and QB Trent Green must limit his mistakes -- particularly when throwing in DC Champ Bailey's direction.