Denver Broncos-Kansas City Chiefs Week 2 NFL 2015 Thursday Game Preview

September 16, 2015

Following an exciting opening weekend to the 2015 NFL Season, Week 2 begins on Thursday night (CBS/NFLN, 8:25 PM ET) with two undefeated AFC West teams, as the Denver Broncos (1-0) travel to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs(1-0).

Dating back to the 2011 season, Denver has won 12 consecutive road games against divisional opponents, tied with the San Francisco 49ers (12 from 1987-90) for the longest such streak in NFL history.

With a win against the Chiefs on Thursday night, the Broncos would have the most consecutive road wins against a divisional opponent in NFL history.

Last week, Denver cornerback Aqib Talib’s 51-yard pick six late in the third quarter helped the Broncos to a 19-13 victory over the Ravens. At the time of the interception, the Broncos were trailing 13-9.  He also had three tackles in the game, to go along with two passes defensed.

The pick was Talib’s seventh-career interception return for a touchdown, tied for most in the NFL since he entered the league in 2008.  The play helped Talib earn AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for the third time in his eight-year career.  Talib has won it twice since joining the Broncos (Week 15, 2014).

“I think we played our butts off against Baltimore,” says Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall. “We showed heart, determination, and we pulled one out. We cannot worry about this game anymore, we need to worry about Kansas City on Thursday night.”

When the Broncos travel to Kansas City this week, quarterback Peyton Manning will look to extend his success on Thursday games. Manning is the all-time leader on Thursdays with 3,591 passing yards, 38 touchdown passes, and a 123.7 passer rating. Since joining Denver in 2012, he has 1,347 passing yards and 13 touchdowns for a 118.1 passer rating on Thursdays.

Denver wide receiver Demaryius Thomas has been a reliable target for Manning, tallying the second-most receiving yards (394) and tied for the fifth-most receptions (22) in the AFC over the past three seasons on Thursdays.

However, Manning is adapting to a new offense and a new head coach in Gary Kubiak.  The new offense features a more balanced attack with a greater emphasis on running the football, and also places Manning under center more instead of continuously in the shotgun.  The decreased role for the Manning was reflected in his relatively humble stat line last week: 24-40-175-0-1-59.9.

Denver's kicking unit also played well in the win, as kicker Brandon McManus converted all four field-goal attempts (57, 56, 43, and 33) and one PAT.

Meanwhile, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith completed 22 of 33 passes (66.7 percent) for 243 yards with three touchdowns and no picks for a 118.6 passer rating in a 27-20 Kickoff Weekend win at Houston.

Smith threw two first-quarter touchdowns to tight end Travis Kelce, and added another in the second quarter when he connected with running back Jamaal Charles on a seven-yard score.

Kelce, who also had 106 receiving yards in the game, joined Tony Gonzalez as the only tight ends in franchise history with at least 100 receiving yards and two touchdown catches in a game. He is the only Kansas City tight end to accomplish the feat in a season opener.

“I think Alex and the rest of the guys did a good job,” says Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, who has a 4-3 career record as a head coach on Thursdays. “We need to keep getting better. It is important how we handle the quick turnaround for the Thursday game. We have a great opponent coming in against Denver and it will be exciting.”

Since Smith joined Kansas City in 2013, the Chiefs have a 1-1 record on Thursdays, with Smith throwing for 507 yards with two touchdown passes for a 90.5 passer rating.

On defense, Kansas City linebacker Justin Houston recorded three tackles and a sack-fumble in the second quarter that set up Smith’s third touchdown pass. Houston, who led the NFL with 22 sacks in 2014, enters Week 2 with 5.5 sacks in three career games on Thursday, including a career-high 4.5 sack performance on Thursday Night Football against Philadelphia in 2013.

Chiefs rookie cornerback Marcus Peters had an impressive debut as well, producing seven tackles and one interception.

The Chiefs will honor their Super Bowl I and IV teams with celebrations on the field before the game, during pregame player introductions, and at halftime with highlights and memories from both Super Bowls.

The matchup marks the first of seven early-season Thursday Night Football broadcasts aired on CBS and simulcast on NFL Network.

NFL Network and CBS will team to feature Thursday Night Football, a schedule of 16 games for the 2015 season – 14 on Thursday night and two late in the season on Saturday night (Weeks 15 and 16). Additionally, CBS will broadcast the Week 13 Thursday night contest between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions on December 3.

NFL Network will televise six late-season Thursday night games and two Saturday night contests in the run-up to the playoffs. Weeks 15 and 16 will each showcase a Saturday primetime game on NFL Network – the New York Jets at the Dallas Cowboys (December 19) and the Washington Redskins at the Philadelphia Eagles (December 26).

Thanksgiving will feature a tripleheader on Thursday, November 26. The first game will send the Philadelphia Eagles to Detroit to face the Lions (12:30 PM ET, FOX). The late afternoon game will feature the Carolina Panthers visiting the Dallas Cowboys (4:30 PM ET, CBS). The holiday concludes with an NFC North rivalry as the Green Bay Packers host the Chicago Bears on NBC (8:30 PM ET).

A look at the remaining games to be played on Thursday in 2015:

Week 2
Thursday, September 17
Denver at Kansas City
8:25 PM

Week 3
Thursday, September 24
Washington at New York Giants
8:25 PM

Week 4
Thursday, October 1
Baltimore at Pittsburgh
8:25 PM

Week 5
Thursday, October 8
Indianapolis at Houston
8:25 PM

Week 6
Thursday, October 15
Atlanta at New Orleans
8:25 PM

Week 7
Thursday, October 22
Seattle at San Francisco
8:25 PM

Week 8
Thursday, October 29
Miami at New England
8:25 PM

Week 9
Thursday, November 5
Cleveland at Cincinnati
8:25 PM

Week 10
Thursday, November 12
Buffalo at New York Jets
8:25 PM

Week 11
Thursday, November 19
Tennessee at Jacksonville
8:25 PM

Week 12
Thursday, November 26
Philadelphia at Detroit
12:30 PM

Week 12
Thursday, November 26
Carolina at Dallas
4:30 PM

Week 12
Thursday, November 26
Chicago at Green Bay
8:30 PM

Week 13
Thursday, December 3
Green Bay at Detroit
8:30 PM

Week 14
Thursday, December 10
Minnesota at Arizona
8:25 PM

Week 15
Thursday, December 17
Tampa Bay at St. Louis
8:25 PM

Week 16
Thursday, December 24
San Diego at Oakland
8:25 PM



DE Kenny Anunike (knee)

S Omar Bolden (foot)

RB C.J. Anderson (ankle, toe), DE Malik Jackson (head), S Darian Stewart (groin)

S David Bruton (hip), QB Peyton Manning (back), LB Brandon Marshall (foot), LB Lerentee McCray (groin), WR Demaryius Thomas (hand)


S Husain Abdullah (quadricep), LB D.J. Alexander (hamstring), G Jeff Allen (knee), WR Jason Avant (hip), T Eric Fisher (ankle), LB Tamba Hali (neck), TE Demetrius Harris (foot), TE Travis Kelce (hip), WR Jeremy Maclin (back), LB Joshua Mauga (achilles), DT Dontari Poe (back), WR De'Anthony Thomas (calf), RB Charcandrick West (achilles), WR Albert Wilson (shoulder)

By Staff of and news services

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