Pop quiz: Which NFL team is first in points scored, yards per game and yards per play and leads the league in passing yards per game? Hint: it’s not the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Denver Broncos have the most dominant offense in the NFL this season, and it really isn’t close. They lead the league with 265 points so far this season, and the next team has 183, a difference of 82 points. Peyton Manning is having another year that defies everything we knew about the quarterback position, leading the league in yards and touchdowns while carrying the Broncos’ potent offense.
In 2002, the Carolina Panthers were fresh off a 1-15 season and hired John Fox as their new head coach. Two seasons later, they were in the Super Bowl, with quarterback Jake Delhomme at the helm. Delhomme’s numbers that season were not overwhelming: 3,219 yards, 19 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
The point of that history tangent is to show that Fox, now the head coach of the Denver Broncos, is a very good coach and had a very successful season with an average-at-best quarterback. Now, with the best quarterback of our generation, Fox is capable of winning the Super Bowl and keeping a 0 in the Broncos’ lose column for awhile longer.
Yes, the Broncos have a tougher schedule than the Chiefs. They face the Indianapolis Colts in an away game this upcoming week, followed by a home game against the Redskins and a trip to San Diego to face the Chargers before a faceoff with the Chiefs at Mile High Stadium in Denver on Nov. 17.
The biggest challenge of those first three games will be the Colts and Andrew Luck, the man who replaced Manning in Indianapolis. Manning was the face of the Colts for 14 seasons after they made the Tennessee Volunteers product the number one overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft.
So the team that has the biggest chance on paper of knocking off the Broncos in the next few weeks will also face a quarterback who was released from the team and will certainly have a chip on his shoulder. The Broncos’ signal caller will want a big game and an even bigger win in the city he called home for almost a decade and a half.
After the Colts, Denver faces the 1-4 Redskins led by the stumbling Robert Griffin III and then the 3-3 Chargers, who are nowhere near the level needed to knock off the Broncos. The biggest remaining obstacle, then, will be the Chiefs, who will also probably be undefeated going into the matchup of the two bitter AFC West rivals.
Ultimately, I believe the last undefeated team in the NFL will be decided in the Mile High City, when the Chiefs and the Broncos face off, and that the Broncos will emerge as the only undefeated team left. At home, with their offense, I do not see a lot of hope for Kansas City.
Denver is very good at scoring points, and a lot of them. They score early and they score often, forcing teams to play catch-up almost constantly. The Chiefs, with Alex Smith under center, are not built to play catch-up. They excel in controlling the game and relying on the excellence of Jamaal Charles in the running and short passing game.
For a team to beat the Broncos, they will need to exploit their secondary, like the Ravens did in the playoffs last season, and push the ball downfield. Smith is a good quarterback in his own right, but he’s not the guy you want if you are trying to beat a team deep.
Another huge factor that will help keep the Broncos winning will be the return of Von Miller, one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. After sitting out the first six games of the season with a suspension, Miller will be back with a vengeance for the Denver defense. Miller has put up 30 sacks and been to two Pro-Bowls in his first two years in the NFL.
Denver has one of the best offenses I have seen in the last several years, and a defense that is good enough to not lose them any games. Despite the fact that I have been a Chiefs fan my whole life and would love to see them win, I do not see how Kansas City can knock off the Broncos in Denver, and I certainly don’t see another team doing so before then.
Spencer Low is a senior in political science. Please send all comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.