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NFL Week 2 Thursday Night Football: Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs

Denver Broncos +3.0 (EVEN) @ Kansas City Chiefs

Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

September 17, 2015, 7:25PM CDT

After dispatching the visiting Baltimore Ravens a mere four days prior, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos must take to the road to face the Kansas City Chiefs Thursday evening. Though the Broncs collected the win and cover in week 1, the play at the quarterback position was uninspiring. Peyton Manning completed 60% of 25 pass attempts versus his career average of 65%, threw 0 TD's compared to his average of 2 per game, and was picked once. Manning's week 1 QBR, as a result, pits him #26 among qualified NFL QBs.

Following the lackluster showing last week, the Broncos dropped one spot in our preferred power rankings, falling from #5 to #6.

Kansas City too will enter week 2 with a 1-0 record (SU and ATS), after they held off the Houston Texans Sunday. The Chiefs did their work early last week, as Alex Smith notched 248 passing yards and 3 TDs in the first 2 quarters of play. The story of the back half of the game was essentially Kansas City withstanding a 3rd quarter Texans surge.

In the week 2 ratings hierarchy, the Chiefs are 2.2 points better than an average team on a neutral, up from 1.4, however they remain fixed at #11.

After adjusting for home field, FPI forecasts a Kansas City win by 1.4 points. Considering the 3 point spread, the indication is that Denver deserves the benefit of any doubt. Similarly, the two simulation routines in our stable hint at 1.6/2.7 points of value backing the road, dog here.

The line movement has clearly favored the Chiefs. VegasInsider reports Denver opened as 1.5 point favorites before the Kansas City faithful bought the Chiefs up to expected winner status. SportsInsights also reports the line has moved Kansas City's way, from a -1.5 open to -3.0 currently. Our math does not expect a Denver win outright, so we think some change was warranted, however, in our estimation, the market has overreacted to swelling bluster about a precipitous (permanent) Peyton Manning decline.

Bottom line: While we too were disheartened by Manning's mediocre showing last week, we hesitate to rush to judgment. Some are looking at the sub-par outing Sunday as a continuation of Maning's fade that commenced late last year. However, the veteran QB played the last several games of 2014 with a torn quadriceps so we think this criticism is unfair. As the message from our power rankings and simulation routines says ride the Broncos (bad pun intended), we are comfortable taking the points and siding with the road team from this spot (this same lowly Denver team delivered a cover for our followers last week so it should be a little easier to give them a bit of latitude in week 2). Look for Peyton Manning to seek redemption.

Happy betting!!

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