KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (9-0) at DENVER BRONCOS (8-1)
The Chiefs look to remain undefeated when they visit Peyton Manning and the 8-1 Broncos on Sunday night.
Kansas City improved to 9-0 before its Week 10 bye while Denver went to San Diego and defeated the Chargers 28-20. So far this season, the Chiefs have gone 6-3 ATS, while the Broncos are 5-3-1 ATS. Last season, Denver swept K.C., but was just 1-1 ATS. The Broncos are 10-2 SU (8-4 ATS) in the past dozen home games in this series, but the Chiefs are a much different team this year than they have been in the past and are well-rested while Denver's star QB Peyton Manning is dealing with sore ankles. In the past two seasons, the Broncos are 13-4 ATS in games played on a grass field, and 11-3 as a favorite of 3.5 to 9.5 points. However, since 1992, Kansas City is 25-12 ATS in road games after scoring three points or less in the first half of its previous game, and 24-11 ATS on the road versus bad defenses (24+ PPG allowed). Star CB Champ Bailey (foot) and S Duke Ihenacho (knee) are both listed as questionable for the Broncos, while the Chiefs are healthy coming off a bye, and top WR Dwayne Bowe will start despite being arrested on marijuana charges earlier this week.
The Chiefs have not lost a game this season and that is mostly because of their defense and rushing attack. The Kansas City defense has allowed an NFL-low 12.3 PPG this season, while also leading the league in third downs (25.8percent), red-zone efficiency (23.1percent) and sacks (36). It has held opposing teams to just 208.3 passing YPG (6th in NFL), but the run defense has been poor, allowing 118.6 YPG (24th in NFL) on 5.0 yards per carry (2nd-worst in league). The Chiefs' gaudy defensive numbers have a lot do with their offense staying on the field for 32:14 (6th in NFL). The Chiefs are rushing for 119.0 yards per game (12th in NFL), led by RB Jamaal Charles, who has rushed for 725 yards and six touchdowns this season. He has also caught 47 passes for 389 yards and two touchdowns. The Chiefs will need Charles to be on his game on Sunday as they will need to keep Peyton Manning and company off the field. QB Alex Smith will be relied on to do what he does best, and that is to manage the football game. Smith has completed 60percent of his throws for 1,919 yards (6.1 YPA) with nine touchdowns, but just four interceptions this season. He doesnt turn the ball over (zero lost fumbles) and he is actually capable of making plays with his legs when the play breaks down. Smith has rushed for 265 yards and a touchdown on the season. The Chiefs will need to execute their game plan perfectly to beat the Broncos, but so far this season they have done just that.
Denver escaped San Diego last week with a 28-20 victory behind 330 yards and four touchdowns through the air from QB Peyton Manning. The veteran signal caller, who injured both ankles in the game, will play against Kansas City despite being banged up. He has thrown for 3,249 yards (8.8 YPA), 33 touchdowns and just six interceptions this season. Over the past three games, WR Demaryius Thomas has really come on strong for the Broncos with at least 75 yards and a touchdown in all three. Against the Chargers, he caught seven passes for 108 yards and three touchdowns. TE Julius Thomas also continued his dominant play for Denver with three catches for 96 yards and a touchdown in last week's win. Both Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas have nine touchdowns on the year, as does WR Wes Welker. Denver must run the ball better, however, as Knowshown Moreno has rushed for only 190 yards on 3.3 YPC in the past four games. His struggles are a big reason why the Broncos rank 26th in the NFL in yards per carry (3.7). Their defense has a good matchup against the Chiefs, as Kansas City is not likely to beat them through the air. Denvers defense is allowing just 87.0 yards per game on the ground (4th in NFL) on 3.5 YPC (2nd in league), but has surrendered 287.9 YPG through the air (3rd-worst in NFL). The matchup of Denvers rushing defense and Kansas Citys ground attack will be interesting to watch. Both of these teams are strongest on offense where the opposing team is strongest on defense.
NFL Health Update: Jake Plummer goes to Alaska for USA Football2013-08-22
Q&A with Heads Up Football Ambassador Jake Plummer
As the start of youth football season arrives, Heads Up Football Ambassadors like former quarterback Jake Plummer will be travelling to leagues nationwide to reinforce the fundamentals of Heads Up Football. Plummer, who will serve as an ambassador in both Idaho and Alaska, is preparing for his visit to Heads Up leagues in Anchorage and Juneau next week. He answered some questions before his trip.
Q: Why did you decide to become involved in Heads Up Football? Why is it important to you?
A: I became involved because I believe that many youth football players are being instructed incorrectly. With Heads Up Football's basic instructions on tackling technique, I believe that many injuries can be avoided, therefore allowing young players the ability to continue playing the sport they love.
Q: What do you hope to share with the youth football players when you travel to Alaska?
A: I hope to share the Heads Up Football tackling techniques, which focus on seeing what you're hitting and not leading with the crown of your head. I also want to share some of my experiences playing youth football, and the fact that you have to play hard and with no fear of injury, but most importantly you have to use proper technique. This means that your head is not a weapon when hitting, but instead is used to get you in the right position to hit properly.
Q: How have you seen attitudes toward sports safety change?
A: I have definitely seen a shift in attitudes about sport safety. More coaches and even the players pay closer attention to their teammates during competition, making sure they are not playing if they have sustained any sort of head injury at all. There still needs to be a monumental shift in how the game is taught to our youth. They are not highly trained athletes like those in the NFL, and they need constant coaching on proper tackling and hitting techniques.
Redskins partner with Health Diagnostics Laboratory Inc.
The Washington Redskins recently announced a partnership with Health Diagnostics Laboratory (HDL) to serve as the team's Health and Wellness Partner. HDL will provide players, coaches and staff with cardiometabolic testing and healthcare consultation. This summer, players and staff underwent a comprehensive blood panel that looked at biomarkers beyond cholesterol to identify potential risk factors.
Team doctor Tony Casolaro said the screenings "add another level of investigation" to the NFL's comprehensive medical plan. He also said the results are kept private between the players and the team's medical staff.
"We're able to let our players and coaches know what risks they might be facing in the future," said Bruce Allen, Redskins General Manager. "If we can educate and motivate people for a healthier lifestyle today, we're going to ensure a better tomorrow for them."
Player Care Foundation screens former players during Hall of Fame weekend
Earlier this month in Canton, Ohio the NFL Player Care Foundation worked with the Living Heart Foundation and the Urology Care Foundation to offer former NFL players cardiovascular and prostate cancer screenings. In total, 40 former players were screened during the event, which was held at the McKinley Grand Hotel. Of those screened, one former player was found to have a condition that required immediate medical attention.
Raiders host Heads Up Football event
The Oakland Raiders on Saturday hosted a Heads Up Football Player Safety Coach Training at the team facility in Alameda, Calif. USA Football Master Trainer and West Region Manager Bassel Faltas and former All-Pro linebacker and Heads Up Football Ambassador Hardy Nickerson instructed more than 35 player safety coaches from leagues throughout the Bay Area on Heads Up tackling, concussion awareness and equipment fitting.
-- NFL Communications
Draft questions: Will Redskins find a gem in Round 2?2013-04-23
Robert Griffin III was well worth the price, but the Redskins have plenty of holes to fill with their seven picks, beginning in the second round at No. 51.
Despite re-signing cornerback DeAngelo Hall, Washington must find a way to shut down big plays from opposing passing attacks. No team has given up more touchdowns on throws of 15 or more yards over the past two seasons than the Redskins. Hall was no savior, with ProFootballFocus ranking him 90th in pass coverage among eligible cornerbacks in 2012. Josh Wilson fared better against the pass, but Washington must rethink this secondary.
The safety position is another concern, with Brandon Meriweather working his way back from the torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in mid-November. Reed Doughty is penciled in across the way at strong safety, but his spotty pass protection makes him at best a supporting character.
Safety prospects Kenny Vaccaro of Texas, John Cyprien of Florida International and LSU's Eric Reid all figure to be long gone when the Redskins are finally on the clock. Still, after Washington made Alfred Morris the 12th running back taken last April, it's time to spin that magic on defense.
Washington also needs help behind Fred Davis at tight end and more young talent to develop on the offensive line.
The Redskins won't match last year's draft-day coup d'tat, but with a franchise quarterback in place, this year's theme is about finding later-round talent to pair alongside Washington's centerpiece, RG3.
SF 49ers FAVORITE?2013-01-31
Will the 49ers win the Super Bowl?
Despite the 49ers being the favorites since day one, the teams are close in a lot of respects. The Ravens averaged 24.9 points per game this season, while the 49ers were at 24.8. They also had an identical turnover differential at -0.6.