Early AFC West showdown: Broncos at Chiefs
One quarterback comes off a superb opener, the other off a mediocre performance.
The switch heading into Thursday night's Broncos-Chiefs matchup in Kansas City is that the Chiefs' Alex Smith had the big game, and Denver's Peyton Manning struggled.
The Chiefs manhandled the Texans in Houston with Smith going 22 of 33 for 243 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. His passer rating against J.J. Watt and company was an outstanding 118.6.
In the Broncos' 19-13 home victory against Baltimore, Manning was 24 for 40 for a meager 175 yards and no touchdowns with one interception and a 59.9 rating.
"I'm sure offensively I speak for a lot of guys that we certainly want to play better. I feel like that Thursday probably couldn't come soon enough," Manning said.
Nor could it come quickly enough for the Chiefs, who are eager to build off their impressive start by further establishing their credentials against Denver (No. 3, AP Pro32). The Chiefs (No. 9, AP Pro32) are 3-point favorites, yet another change to recent trends in this AFC West series, which dates back to the AFL when the Chiefs were the Dallas Texans.
"I think for us the one thing is win the division," Smith said. "That's the focus, right? ... We've got a chance against the division champions at our place, so it starts with this week."
Indeed it does.