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Chiefs Facing Broncos and Altitude in Final Game of 2012

Posted Dec 29, 2012

Team hopes it has saved its best game for last

The Kansas City Chiefs’ 2012 season ends tomorrow, facing the AFC West-leading Denver Broncos. Regardless of the 2-13 record, there is plenty to play for, including a win against a division-rival, momentum heading into the offseason and most importantly, pride.

It was just over a month ago, when the Peyton Manning-led Broncos visited Arrowhead and left with a 17-9 victory. While playing an already-familiar opponent again so soon can be beneficial, it can’t be used as a crutch in preparing for Sunday’s game.

“Generally when you play an opponent, you find out some things about them, about how you need to play them, maybe what you can do a little bit better to help yourself,” Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel said. “And, we played a decent game against them. They had to drive at the end; so if we can play that type of game and then we come out on top at the end, that will be wonderful.”

Leading the Chiefs will be QB Brady Quinn, who was with the Broncos last season and is very familiar with the environment at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

“It’s a tough place to play, it really is,” Quinn admitted. “You notice it going in there as an opponent and you notice it when you’re on the Broncos; you definitely feel like you’ve got some major home-field advantage. They pack the place, it’s loud, there’s the altitude, there’s all those factors. It’s definitely a tough place to play, so we’ve got to do a good job communicating, making sure we’re executing our game plan the best way possible. We can’t be putting ourselves in the hole with penalties and stuff.”

Before even taking a snap, the Chiefs will need to prepare for the thin air, mentioned by their signal caller. 

“What you feel is, you get out there and you start playing the game and even when you’re a player out there, if you haven’t acclimatized or gotten used to it, 20 minutes into it, you feel like this thing isn’t affecting me and then as time wears on, you kind of start to feel like you can’t recover as fast,” Quinn admitted. “Obviously, there is a lack of oxygen in the air, so it takes you a little longer; you have to breathe a little harder to get oxygen into your body.”

Apart from the thin air, the Chiefs will be facing future Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning and his countless pre-snap shenanigans, which like high altitudes, can also lead to headaches.

“He does a great job at that and sometimes you can tell (what’s real) because (of) how short (the call) is, but sometimes he prolongs it,” Chiefs LB Justin Houston said. “He does a great job of that, playing mind games.”

Once the ball is in Manning’s hands, he has unshaken confidence in his guys running the routes.

“Peyton and the wide receivers, they’re on the same page even more (than last game),” Chiefs S Eric Berry said. “I think they’re probably in the same sentence right now, not even on the same page, so they know what’s going on. We just really have to keep staying focused and try to shut them down.”

Part of being effective against Peyton Manning means slowing down his team’s running game, which is a task on Kansas City’s high-priority list.

“We can’t let them get started with the run game, because that will open up the play-action passes,” Berry said. “A lot of people don’t understand how good Peyton Manning is with the play-action, that’s a big part of his game as well, so you don’t want to get them started with the run.”

Chiefs DE Tyson Jackson agreed.

“It all starts up front. Their offensive line does a really-good job zoning and getting on different levels and creating holes for the running backs,” Jackson said.

“Knowshon (Moreno) is doing a real good job; he’s running the ball, he’s finding the holes, he’s making the big plays and getting the right cuts. Right now, they’re just on fire; they’re playing well as a team. We just have to go out there and play four quarters of football and try to get the job done.”

The Chiefs offense will be facing the fierce pass rush of LB Von Miller and company, as well as a veteran-led secondary.

"(The Broncos) have CB Champ (Bailey) out there,” Chiefs WR Jamar Newsome said.

“Champ is a vet and you can tell that he’s starting to rub off on some of the other guys. So, they’re a pretty good secondary to go against and definitely will be a challenge.”

Stopping Denver’s 10-game winning streak will be a challenge, but one that is conquerable if the Chiefs perform in breathtaking fashion.

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