[Kansas City.com] Each NFL team inevitably plays an early-season game where fortunes turn, for better or for worse.
For the Chiefs and Broncos, it’s tonight’s game at the new Mile High Stadium.
This may be the AFC West’s last shot at any sort of competitive race. The Chiefs would be 3-0 with a win and in command of the division. They would be at least two games ahead of each rival.
But for the Chiefs, a victory does so much more. It would legitimize them as a Super Bowl contender and validate their offseason decisions to repair their faulty defense. And it would end the curse of the Broncos’ new stadium, a place where the Chiefs haven’t won in four tries.
“There are a lot of things at stake,” Denver cornerback Champ Bailey said. “They’re undefeated. If we lose this game, we’ll get behind, and that’s something you don’t want to create in your division. You definitely want to stay ahead of the game.”
On the surface, the Broncos are the desperate team. A defeat would drop them to 1-2 and two games behind the Chiefs.
It’s also a big opportunity for the Chiefs to leave themselves with some room for error heading down the stretch.
“Now’s the time to take advantage of as many games as we can,” Chiefs guard Brian Waters said. “We know the race is going to get tighter toward the end because there are so many good football teams.”
“This is a game you’d like to be able to put in the bank. If we can win this game, it gives you more of a comfort level as the season goes on. You don’t want to be in the rat race come week 10 or 11, where every game is like a playoff. It’s hard to do that week in and week out.”
“I’d rather be a team that gets out early, puts these wins away and then we’re able to concentrate on finishing strong rather than trying to get into the race.”