NFL's Best Go Head To Head

Image courtesy of Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
Peyton Manning has Denver's offence on fire this season. Image courtesy of Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
What do you get when you put the NFL’s best offence against its best defence, thrown in a division match-up, and two teams which have combined for 17 wins in 18 starts this season. You get the upstart Kansas City Chiefs travelling to Denver to take on Peyton Manning and his charging Broncos in the biggest regular season match-up to date this season. In fact, no two teams with records these good have ever met this deep in to the season since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger.

It’s no surprise to see the Broncos in this position; they won eleven straight to finish the 2012 season before Baltimore shocked them in the post-season. KC is a completely different story. The Chiefs finished an abysmal 2012 campaign with just two wins, led by their phenomenal defence, the franchise is off to the most surprising 9-0 start in NFL history.

Two years back, Andy Reid had led Philadelphia to the playoffs for the ninth time in 13 seasons, while quarterback Alex Smith came within a whisker of leading San Francisco to the Super Bowl. Fast forward 12 months and Reid was out of the City of Brotherly Love after leading the Eagles to a 4-12 record while Smith lost his starting job to second-year phenom Colin Kaepernick. Smith’s number this season are hardly outstanding - he’s 20th amongst QBs for passing yards and tied for 22nd with just nine touchdown throws – but he isn’t turning the ball over and his offence is doing enough to back his team’s watertight D.

The Broncos have been on a tear all season topping the 30-point mark in all bar their last game, a 28-20 win over San Diego. Manning aggravated an ankle sprain in that game, but will take on the Chiefs despite missing a practice session midweek. Kansas City leads the league with 36 sacks, so the four-time MVP will need all the mobility he can muster.

Despite their outstanding records, there are still some doubts hovering over both teams, especially the Chiefs. Neither side has beaten a team with a winning record, with the Broncos downed 39-33 by Indianapolis, the only team with a positive mark. KC has beaten five teams which had back-up QBs in action. Six times in his career, Manning has faced the top defence in the league (based on points per game) in the second half of the season, and in those games his record is 3-3.

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