PFF Preview: Chiefs @ Broncos, Week 2
This AFC West division rivalry starts early this year, as the 0-1 Chiefs look to rebound in Denver against the 1-0 Broncos. The Broncos took both meetings last year and would love to put the Chiefs in a 0-2 hole and grab some early breathing room in the division. The Chiefs are just trying to hold things together after big injuries to Mike Devito and Derrick Johnson.
On offense last week, the Chiefs’ new O-line struggled, as their grades ranged from -0.9 to as far down as -5.3. Defensively, their top two performers Devito (+1.4) and Johnson (+1.4) both went down with torn Achilles in the second half. The Chiefs are hoping the returns of Dwayne Bowe and Marcus Cooper will give them a boost.
Denver’s offense played to their usual high standard and stormed out to a 24-7 lead on Indy, but had to hold off a late charge as the offense sputtered a little in the second half. On the other side of the ball, the Denver’s defensive line didn’t quite hold up as expected. They put together a cumulative grade of -6.1 and struggled putting consistent pressure on Andrew Luck. The defense did get solid contributions from Nate Irving and Rahim Moore.
Here are three other notables for each team:
Kansas City Chiefs
Dwayne Bowe – Alex Smith had five touchdowns to one interception when throwing at Bowe last year. In Bowe’s Week-1 absence, Smith threw three picks when targeting Donnie Avery.
Tamba Hali and Justin Houston – The league’s top 3-4 OLB tandem earned a combined grade of +60.9 in 2013 — +21.4 better than the next group — and though Hali had his struggles when facing Denver, Houston posted a monster +9.1 against them in Week 13.
Jamaal Charles – Charles didn’t have his expected impact against the Titans last week. Met in the backfield often, he scraped together just 19 yards on the ground and added only 15 as a receiver.
Julius Thomas – Thomas’+2.5 grade in Week 1 featured an impressive stretch where he scored on all three second-quater targets he saw, beating three different defenders (Jerrell Freeman, D’Qwell Jackson, and LaRon Landry).
Louis Vasquez – Vasquez had a -2.3 overall grade grade last week, struggling primarily in the run game. Prone to posting a negative in the run game here and there, he’s rarely done so in consecutive weeks. Look for No. 3 overall graded guard last year to rebound.
Aqib Talib – Made the biggest impact out of the Bronco free agent signings in the first game. Thrown at eight times, Talib allowed three completions for 26 yards and defended two passes. His +3.2 grade paced the Bronco defense.
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