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Broncos beginning to show cracks

The Denver Broncos are 7-2, but nobody feels good about them at the moment. For the first eight weeks of the season, Denver was undefeated and rolling toward another AFC West crown and perhaps a first-round BYE in the AFC playoffs. Suddenly, all of that has changed.

The Broncos lost in Week 9 to the Indianapolis Colts, allowing 27 points and generally looking overmatched by a team that has been underwhelming all season. Most expected Denver to bounce back in a big way last Sunday at Sports Authority Field against the Kansas City Chiefs, who have not beaten Denver since the Tim Tebow era. Instead, Kansas City mopped the proverbial floor with the Broncos, forcing Peyton Manning to the bench after a 5-of-20 performance which featured four interceptions.

For Kansas City, the win put it at 4-5 and perhaps back into the playoff hunt, and maybe even the divisional chase depending on what Denver looks like from here on out. The Broncos now travel to the Windy City to play the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, giving quarterback Brock Osweiler his first career start.

Osweiler came into the game against the Chiefs on Sunday and played decently, although he threw one interception and should have had another, if not for a drop. Osweiler was never much for accuracy in college and isn’t known for arm strength, so it will be interesting to see if he can come in and immediately play well on a team with high expectations.

With Manning out due to a foot injury (and his return uncertain) Osweiler appears to be the answer in Denver. A loss to Chicago could put the team in freefall, especially with the unbeaten New England Patriots paying the Broncos a visit next week.

Denver is still sitting in very good position at 7-2, only a game behind the Cincinnati Bengals for a BYE week in the postseason, but it feels like a tenuous spot. The Broncos need to keep winning, because the Chiefs are rolling in a big way. They have not only won three straight games but play the easiest schedule in the league from here on out, and could conceivably run the table. Of course, winning what would amount to 10 consecutive games is not likely, but Kansas City has the capability to make it happen.

The Broncos are teetering and desperately need a win against their old coach on Sunday to make everybody feel better about their situation. A loss, and things could being to spiral out of control in the Mile High city.

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