Both meetings of the Broncos and Chiefs this season were flexed. The first, two weeks back, was moved to Sunday Night Football. The latter was moved from the early to the late afternoon slot today. Given that SNF this week is between two teams highly unlikely to make the playoffs, we’d probably be better off with another Kansas City-Denver primetime game, even if it meant Peyton Manning on NBC three weeks in a row.
Two weeks ago, Denver and Kansas City met in a contest that was billed as showdown for homefield in the AFC. While the rematch will still go a long way to showing who wins the AFC West and one of these teams may very well get a first-round bye, homefield is far from assured for either team.
In the first meeting, it was the Chiefs’ lack of offense, as expected, that kept them from keeping pace with the Broncos. With Justin Houston out and Tamba Hali questionable, the Chiefs have a lot of defensive liabilities that they didn’t for the first matchup. Then again, the game will be outside and it will be cold so if the current narrative about Peyton Manning is to be believed, he will immediately wilt and have his android parts malfunction due to the frigid conditions.
Thanks to the Patriots’ comeback win over the Broncos last week, New England holds the tiebreaker over Denver while only trailing them by one game. The Chiefs and Patriots don’t meet in the regular season this year, but have the same conference record through 12 weeks. No matter who wins, New England continues to close in one the top seed in the AFC, despite a tighter than expected road victory today over the Texans.
In other action, the 49ers can create some distance in the NFC Wild Card race following an Arizona loss by defeating the Rams as Michael Crabtree makes his season debut. The Bengals face a maddeningly inconsistent Chargers team that could very well hand them a critical loss or just as likely lose by 30. And then there’s Falcons-Bills, which is far less remarkable as a football game as it is a scene for potential Rob Ford carnage.
Your late game slate, as rated by KSK’s not-at-all subjective, rigorously scientificated five-star system:
Atlanta at Buffalo ***** for Rob Ford antics
St. Louis at San Francisco **
Denver at Kansas City ****
Cincinnati at San Diego ***