Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at 7:00 AM
One of the best Thursday night matchups of the entire 2015 pro football season is on tap this week when the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs square off in an AFC West battle. Both teams won their season openers last week. Both teams have legitimate chances to crash the AFC Championship party…whose invitations may have been sent to New England and Indianapolis a tad early (particularly the Colts!)
Concerns about Denver seemed well-founded during the bulk of their 19-13 victory over Baltimore this past Sunday. Peyton Manning isn’t anywhere near his old self. Though he can still read defenses and drive for field goals (Denver’s only TD last week was defensive). Yet, the Broncos did win and cover against a playoff team from 2014 that has its eyes on the prize as well. Handicappers may have to stop thinking of Denver as “Peyton Manning’s team,” and start thinking of them as a defensive stalwart trying to make do with a game manager at QB.
Kansas City had a big first half in Houston…though that was helped some by cheap points off of miscues by seemingly overmatched Brian Hoyer. Anyone who takes a snap for Cleveland is doomed forever no matter where they play! Andy Reid has a roster he likes…and is hoping for a return to a postseason after last season’s near miss.
Let’s review JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats from last week’s action.
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Denver: 1-0 (home victory over a quality Baltimore team)
Kansas City: 1-0 (road victory over what might be a mediocre Houston team)
The stats are only from Week One…so it’s important to keep context in mind. We’ll need a larger sample size before drawing too many conclusions. But, it’s important you know what happened last week while trying to anticipate what’s going to happen this week!
Denver: 3.2 on offense, 3.0 on defense
Kansas City: 4.9 on offense, 5.4 on defense
That Denver/Baltimore game, was hideous if you’re a fan of great offense. Those are just HORRIBLE yards-per-play numbers from the offensive perspective. And, even the best defenses aren’t THAT good. We can’t emphasize this enough…you have to change the way you think about Denver from this point forward. Kansas City got out-statted once they sat on a big lead. Houston scored some garbage time TD’s that threw a monkey wrench into the numbers. Let’s say it this way, Kansas City wasn’t as bad as the YPP data make it look, nor as good as the 27-9 halftime lead made it seem.
Kansas City: +2
It’s tempting to say that Denver will still have Peyton Manning’s penchant for avoiding turnovers going for them. But, he threw a TD pass to the wrong team! Their defense will force turnovers. Manning’s fading accuracy and arm strength could be a turnover problem that just keeps getting worse and worse. Great test for this area of discussion because prime time games in Kansas City can be hell for opposing quarterbacks.
Denver: 1-0 ATS
Kansas City: 1-0 ATS
Both teams covered their pointspreads last week. Denver was fortunate to do so given the flow of the afternoon and the final stats. Kansas City was probably the right side, with lucky early points creating some illusions about their true ability.
Current Line: Kansas City by 3, total of 42.5
The opener of Kansas City -1.5 and 46 was bet very aggressively in the direction of “Peyton Manning doesn’t have it any more.” The Chiefs rose up to the critical number on their home field. The market is basically saying these teams are EVEN right now because home field is usually worth a field goal. The Under was absolutely pounded because sharps recognize that Denver is now a defensive-minded ball control team. Kansas City can play that way too.
JIM HURLEY has some time to figure out the best game-day strategy for the side and/or total in this marquee NFL matchup. Didn’t you get tired of all the lousy Thursday night games last year? This is basically a playoff game! You can purchase the final word on game day here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours between now and Thursday’s kickoff. (If you want to build some bankroll between now and then…check out Wednesday’s MLB action!)
We’ll be back with you in the NOTEBOOK early Friday to run the numbers in the much anticipated Mississippi/Alabama showdown. Then, it’s on to that dream rematch (and potential NFC championship preview) of the Seahawks and Packers that will be played Sunday night. What a sports weekend!
Coming up soon in the NOTEBOOK…
*College Football TV Preview…#15 Ole Miss at #2 Alabama
*NFL Sunday Night TV Preview…Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers
*NFL Monday Night TV Preview…NY Jets at Indianapolis Colts
*NFL Thursday Night TV Preview…Washington Redskins at NY Giants
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