By Ryan Mayer, CBS Local Sports
Week 1 of the NFL season is in the books and Week 2 gets underway tonight with AFC West divisional rivals the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs going at it in Arrowhead Stadium. After Week 1, there are still plenty of questions about every NFL team, but we’ll start to get more of those answers beginning tonight. For a preview of what to expect we spoke with CBS Sports Radio’s and former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber to get his thoughts on some of the biggest story lines as these two teams take the field tonight.READ MORE: 23-Year-Old Charged With Molesting Woman in Santa Ana Store
Peyton Manning didn’t exactly look like his usual self last week, is he beginning to show signs of his age?
Tiki Barber: Definitely Peyton is starting to show his age. The question now becomes how much of a burden is Gary Kubiak going to put on Manning? Peyton proved last week that you’re still going to see flashes of the old Peyton Manning. But the problem is if you’re relying on those flashes to be a big part of the game every week you’re going to be in trouble.
Is this the week we finally get to see a Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver catch a touchdown pass?
TB: (Laughing) Well, you hope that Jeremy Maclin can do what he did in the preseason and catch a touchdown pass for Alex Smith. But, you know what the focus and strength of this Kansas City Chiefs team is and that’s Jamal Charles. I think that Andy Reid understands that and tries to get the ball in his hands as much as possible. I think you’ll see Charles and Travis Kelce get a lot of touches tonight, so as for Maclin catching a touchdown pass, it could happen but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Kansas City’s defense played well against Texans’ QB’s Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett in Week 1, but Peyton provides a completely different challenge. How does this defense go about trying to shut down Peyton and that offense?
TB: You know, it’s interesting with Peyton now because it used to be if you blitzed him, he would eat you alive, constantly changing the plays at the line. Now it seems like he’s not as… like he doesn’t have as much freedom, maybe, to change things at the line of scrimmage. I think because of that you’re going to see Kansas City try and blitz from multiple different angles and give different looks to put the pressure on Peyton.READ MORE: Riverside Adds 419 New COVID-19 Cases, 12 Deaths; San Bernardino Reports 253 Cases, 22 Deaths
Neither team ran the ball particularly well in Week 1. Which team needs to have that rushing game in order to come out on top?
TB: Has to be CJ Anderson for the Denver Broncos. Jamal Charles will get his touches and carries, whether it’s 5 carries and 10 receptions or 10-15 carries and 5 receptions he’s going to get the ball. For the Broncos Anderson has to be effective in order for Kubiak’s scheme to be effective. Last week you saw between he and Ronnie Hillman had about 23 carries but they only went for about 70-80 yards. So it’s not just about the volume of carries it’s about being efficient with those carries as well.
The defense for the Broncos looked great last week, but we’ve talked about the multiple different weapons that Kansas City has, so which guy do you think needs to be the focal point of Denver’s defense?
TB: Clearly, it’s Travis Kelce right? I mean he’s become a favorite target for Alex Smith. You saw last week there were situations where he was left wide open because of confusion in the defense and he scored two touchdowns. You can’t allow him to run wide open like that, you have to be solid in your defensive assignments. Because if you start to bring a double team on Kelce then that opens up the middle for Jamal Charles and certainly opens up the deep pass for Maclin. So I think Kelce is the guy that you have to find a way to keep under wraps early.
Do the Chiefs or the Broncos look like they can compete with the defending champions in the New England Patriots and take home the AFC title?
TB: I think it’s still way to early to make that kind of distinction. (Laughing) I’ll tell you what though, because of the Chiefs versatility that we’ve mentioned and because of the defense for both the Chiefs and the Broncos, they have a chance. Kansas City with that 3-4 defense can offer such versatility and multiple looks. I think after this game, after this week, is when we’ll be able to tell a lot more about not just both of these teams, but every team in the NFL.
The Broncos and Chiefs will duel it out from Arrowhead tonight with kickoff slated for 8:25 pm on CBS. In case you’re not near a television or if you just want a unique perspective on the game as it happens, take a look at the Thursday Night Football live blog where CBS Sports Radio’s Greg Gianotti and Amy Lawrence will be providing commentary for tonight’s game. More coverage of Thursday Night Football can be found here.MORE NEWS: Pasadena's Lucky Boy Burgers Sues Postmates Alleging Unfair Business Practices
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him. Agree/Disagree? Thoughts, comments, complaints? Email or tweet him.