Denver (1-0) at Kansas City (1-0), 8:25 p.m. (CBS and NFL Network). A pair of old AFC West rivals meet in the midwest as Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos travel to Kansas City to face off against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Both teams enter the Thursday night contest with close wins under their belts from action last Sunday and it will be a short week for both clubs.

Last week, Denver cornerback Aqub Talib’s 51-yard interception return-touchdown in the third quarter helped the Broncos to a 19-13 victory over the Ravens. The play was Talib’s seventh-career interception return-touchdown, tied for most in the NFL since he entered the league in 2008. Denver rushed for only

“I think we played our butts off against Baltimore,” Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall told KUSA-TV and the Rocky Mountain News. “We showed heart, determination and we pulled one out. We cannot worry about this game anymore, we need to worry about Kansas City on Thursday night.” Denver wide receiver Demaryius Thomas has been a reliable target for Manning, tallying the second-most receiving yards (394) and tied for the fifth-most receptions (22) in the AFC over the past three seasons on Thursdays.

When the Broncos travel to Kansas City this week, quarterback Peyton Manning looks to extend his success on Thursdays. Manning is the all-time leader on Thursdays with 3,591 passing yards, 38 touchdown passes and a 123.7 passer rating. Since joining Denver in 2012, he has 1,347 passing yards and 13 touchdowns for a 118.1 passer rating on Thursdays. Manning in the win over Baltimore last Sunday was sacked four times and picked off once, while the Ravens rushed for 73 yards. Neither club did anything exciting on third down tries (Baltimore was 2 of 13, while Denver went 8 of 18 (the Ravens were successful in their only fourth down conversion in the contest.) The clock was the ally of the Broncos, who held the ball for 37:17 to Baltimore’s 22:43.

The Chiefs are also coming off a win in the opening weekend, as Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith completed 22 of 33 passes for 243 yards with three touchdowns in a 27-20 Kickoff Weekend win at Houston. Smith threw two first-quarter touchdowns to tight end Travis Kelce and added another in the second quarter when he connected with running back Jamaal Charles on a seven-yard score. Since Smith joined Kansas City in 2013 after leaving San Francisco, the Chiefs have a 1-1 record on Thursdays, with Smith throwing for 507 yards with two touchdown passes for a 90.5 passer rating.

Kelce, who also had 106 receiving yards in the game, joined Tony Gonzalez as the only tight ends in franchise history with at least 100 receiving yards and two touchdown catches in a game. He is the only Kansas City tight end to accomplish the feat in a season opener.

“I think Alex and the rest of the guys did a good job,” says Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, who has a 4-3 career record as a head coach on Thursdays. “We need to keep getting better. It is important how we handle the quick turnaround for the Thursday game. We have a great opponent coming in against Denver and it will be exciting.” It was a low-rushing affair in Houston as neither the Chiefs or Texans broke the 100-yard barrier (Houston wound up with 98 and Kansas City did no better, rushing for 97 yards) and Kansas City did manage to sack Texas QB Brian Hoyer four times in the seven-point win. The Chiefs and Texans on third down were a combined 6 of 27 (Houston was 3 of 14, Kansas City 3 of 13) and the clock favored the Chiefs, who held the ball for 35:19 to Houston’s 24:41.

The Chiefs will honor their Super Bowl I and IV teams with celebrations on the field before thegame, during pregame player introductions and at halftime with highlights and memories from both Super Bowls.

The matchup marks the first of seven early-season Thursday Night Football broadcasts aired on CBS and NFL Network.

Kansas City leads the series 56-53 and they may have outscored the Broncos 2,491-2,249 but Denver has won seven of the last eight contests in the series, including sweeping the series in 2014, with Kansas City’s last win coming in Denver in 2011 by a 7-3 final.

The first meeting was in Denver at Sports Authority Field in week two and the Broncos came away with a 24-17 win. Denver led 21-10 at the half and proceeded to hold off the Chiefs in the second half. Even though they were held to 88 yards rushing, Manning did manage to toss three TDs in the game, while his defense sacked Alex Smith twice (Smith did out-pass Manning 255-242). The Chiefs were 11 of 16 on third down conversions (0 of 1 on fourth down) and held on to the ball for 36:14, while Denver kept the pigskin for 23:46 and 3 of 8 and 1 of 1 on third and fourth downs.

Game two headed to the Midwest and it was Denver prevailing in the second contest in chilly Kansas City in week 13 (how cold, you ask? A balmy 27 with a wind chill of 14… YIKES!) 29-16. The Manning-led Broncos held 20-7 at the half and both teams played even in the final 30 minutes of play. C.J. Anderson ran for 168 of Denver’s 214, while Kansas City was held to 41 rushing yards and Smith was sacked six times, despite throwing a pair of TDs, while Manning also threw a pair of TDs without being picked off (Kansas City turned the ball over three times; a pair of interceptions and a fumble).

In the second contest, neither club did anything to write home, text or tweet about on third down conversions (Denver was 9 of 21, while Kansas City was 1 of 8) but on fourth down tries, they did manage to do reasonably well (the Broncos went 2 of 2, while Kansas City was 1 of 2) and time was on the side of the Broncos, who held the ball for 38:47 to Kansas City’s 21:13.

With regards to the oddsmakers… In the first meeting in Denver, the Broncos won by seven (they were favored by 12) and the over/under of 50 1/2 was missed as both teams only scored 41 points. The second meeting? Denver was favored by 1 1/2 and won by 13, which made the oddsmakers giddy with joy but both teams missed the 51 over/under, scoring only 45 points.

The Chiefs are 3 point favorites at Arrowhead on Thursday night and the over/under is 42 1/2. Both numbers make a lot of sense and both quarterbacks can produce offense at will. Both teams played close games last week but both came away winners. Kansas City makes it closer than the 3 but Denver is up to date in Kansas City and takes the win on the road.

BROADCAST INFORMATION – 8:25 p.m. Eastern on CBS/NFLN: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson (Field reporter). Westwood One: Ian Eagle, Tim Ryan. SIRIUS: 83 (Denver), 93 (Kansas City). XM: 226 (Denver), 225 (Kansas City).

Injury Report

Denver
OUT: DE Kenny Anunike (knee)
DOUBTFUL: S Omar Bolden (foot)
QUESTIONABLE: RB C.J. Anderson (ankle, toe), DE Malik Jackson (head), S Darian Stewart (groin)
PROBABLE: S David Bruton (hip), QB Peyton Manning (back), LB Brandon Marshall (foot), LB Lerentee McCray (groin), WR Demaryius Thomas (hand)

Kansas City
PROBABLE: S Husain Abdullah (quadricep), LB D.J. Alexander (hamstring), G Jeff Allen (knee), WR Jason Avant (hip), T Eric Fisher (ankle), LB Tamba Hali (neck), TE Demetrius Harris (foot), TE Travis Kelce (hip), WR Jeremy Maclin (back), LB Joshua Mauga (achilles), DT Dontari Poe (back), WR De’Anthony Thomas (calf), RB Charcandrick West (achilles), WR Albert Wilson (shoulder)

Weather Forecast: Mostly clear and 74 degrees.

Broadcast information and injury report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Dons Best and USA Today, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel.

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