Jussel: Sambralio’s blocking key for Broncos vs. K.C.

Been there, done that — 112 times to be exact.

The Denver Broncos first played the Dallas Texans in 1960. Denver never beat the Dallas Texans, going 0-6.

The Texans moved to Kansas City in 1963 and, somewhat logically, became the Chiefs.

The first Bronco win over the Texans/Chiefs came on Oct. 11, 1964, at Bears Stadium (it became Mile High Stadium in 1969).

Denver had Jackie Lee at quarterback and was playing its first game under new coach Mac Speedie. Denver, 0-4 at the time and loser of 11 straight, somehow outscored the heavily favored Chiefs 33-27.

The crowd — 16,285 brave souls including me and my mother — was stunned.

Even then, there was plenty of bad blood between the two teams. A rivalry was brewing.

Kansas City, however, continued to have the upper hand.

Denver didn’t beat the Chiefs a second time until winning 26-13 at Mile High on Oct. 4, 1970.

You want to talk upset? The Chiefs were the defending world champions, having defeated the Minnesota Vikings in January of that year in Super Bowl IV.

Surely you remember Pete Liske. He was Denver’s starting quarterback in that game. Liske, a Penn State product, started 11 games for the Broncos over two seasons, winning six.

Yes, lots of memories going into tonight’s Game 113.

The Chiefs have the edge in the series, winning 57 times to Denver’s 55. The Chiefs have outscored the Broncos 2,544-2,293.

It’s been tight, with Denver holding the edge recently on its way to five straight AFC West championships, winning eight of the past 10. It hasn’t been easy, however, with five of those games decided by a touchdown or less.

Warning: Kansas City won the last game played in Denver 29-13 as they intercepted Peyton Manning four times and sent him to the bench in favor of Brock Osweiler. That romp turned the Chiefs’ season around as they went on to win eight straight games prior to losing 27-20 at New England in the first round of the playoffs.

The Chiefs have also managed to go 7-3 this season. They are for real.

The Broncos, you might recall, didn’t let that hammering at the hands of the Chiefs deter them, with their third Super Bowl crown becoming reality in February.

And Denver’s current edition hasn’t been too shabby either, also going 7-3.

There is absolutely no reason to think tonight’s skirmish won’t do the long series proud.

The Chiefs have a conservative, ground-oriented offense and one of the league’s better defensive units.

The Broncos have a conservative offense (they would like it to be ground-oriented) and one of the league’s better defensive units.

Safe to say, the two teams know each other. Kansas City head coach Andy Reid and Denver head coach Gary Kubiak might as well have overnighted their game plans to each other.

This one won’t be won — as those early Denver vs. Dallas/Kansas City contests were — because one team obviously had better players. This one will be lost by the team that makes the most mistakes.

Last season, Denver pulled one out of the hat in Kansas City when Brandon Marshall forced a fumble with 27 seconds left in a game that appeared to be going into overtime. Bradly Roby picked the fumble up in midair and returned it for a touchdown, Denver winning 31-24.

Then came the game in Denver in which Manning went 5 for 20 and was intercepted four times before being replaced by Osweiler. Osweiler was also intercepted and the Chiefs went on to win 29-13.

Turnovers obviously were key in both.

Talking turnovers, the Chiefs lead the league in interceptions (13) and forced fumbles (13). Denver isn’t far behind with 10 INTs and nine forced fumbles. The two teams are tied at the top of the league with 10 fumble recoveries.

The Broncos pressure the passer at every opportunity and have 29 sacks. The Chiefs haven’t been nearly as effective with 19. They do, however, have the league leader in sacks in Dee Ford, who is running slightly ahead of Denver’s vaunted Von Miller, 10 to 9.5.

Ford is questionable tonight with a hamstring injury. If Ford can’t go, it puts the spotlight on Justin Houston, the Chiefs Pro Bowl player who is returning from ACL surgery and still not up to his old ways.

The reason we’re perseverating on this position?

Denver’s weakest link — and one of the keys to turnover possibilities — rests on the Bronco right offensive tackle, Ty Sambrailo likely in place of former Chief Donald Stephenson, who has been terrible.

Sambrailo holds his own vs. the Chiefs and the Broncos win it. He gets run over, Denver QB Trevor Siemian is bent, folded and mutilated and it’s KC.

I’ll take my 6-4 record picking with or against Denver and say Sambrailo and the Broncos win, 24-17.


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