Chiefs-Broncos Preview

Despite a sore right ankle, Peyton Manning is expected to play

in the Denver Broncos’ showdown with unbeaten Kansas City. So is

beleaguered Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe.

Bowe was arrested this past weekend but is slated to start as

Kansas City tries to remain the NFL’s only perfect team after

Sunday night’s visit to Denver.

An MRI on Monday showed no additional damage to Manning’s ankle,

but he only participated in walkthroughs Wednesday.

“It’s certainly my preference to be out (at practice), but I’m

trying to do what’s best for the team in order for me to get

healthy,” Manning said.

The Broncos star has been dealing with a sore ankle since taking

hits to that area in back-to-back games last month. He took another

one in a 28-20 win in San Diego this past Sunday, but interim coach

Jack Del Rio said the veteran remains on track to start.

Manning will face a defense that has a league-best 36 sacks,

with Justin Houston and Tamba Hali combining for 20. Denver has

given up the second-fewest in the league (13), but eight have come

in the last three games. The biggest concern has been at left

tackle, where Chris Clark has been inconsistent since Ryan Clady

was lost for the season with a foot injury.

“(Manning) will definitely play this week so that’s good news,”

said Del Rio, who is leading the team while John Fox recovers from

heart surgery. “We’re definitely on high alert in wanting to

protect our quarterback. We didn’t do it as well as we could

(against San Diego), and we have an even greater challenge this

week in the team that’s sacked quarterbacks more than anyone in

this league.”

With four touchdowns and 330 yards against San Diego, Manning

remains on pace NFL single-season records in both categories. While

trying to stay on target to break those marks, he’ll seek to get

Denver (8-1) a share of first place in the AFC West and spoil

Kansas City’s attempt at a franchise-best start.

The Chiefs (9-0) enjoyed their bye week but didn’t emerge

unscathed as Bowe’s arrest Sunday could serve as a lingering

distraction.

The Pro Bowl wide receiver was pulled over for speeding in

Riverside, Mo., and also charged with possession of marijuana. Bowe

posted $750 bond and is set to appear in court Dec. 18.

Instead of talking to reporters earlier this week, Bowe chose to

apologize through a statement. The Chiefs cannot discipline one of

their all-time leading wide receivers for violating the league’s

substance-abuse policy, and he likely won’t face penalties until

after his court date. There’s a chance, however, that commissioner

Roger Goodell could potentially hand down a one-game suspension or

a fine.

‘”There are rules and regulations put in place and we’ll abide

by the rules and regulations, and we’ll make sure we take all of

the information that comes out as it goes through the process,”

coach Andy Reid said. “That’s where we’re going with it.”

“I addressed him, had that opportunity to talk to him, and I’ll

leave it at that. There are laws, rules and regulations, and I’ll

leave it at that.”

Bowe, who signed a five-year, $56 million extension before this

season, is currently on pace for one of the worst seasons in his

career. His 33 receptions are second on the team behind running

back Jamaal Charles’ 47, and he’s third in receiving yards with

369.

Bowe, however, has a combined 19 catches for 279 yards in his

last two visits to Denver. He missed last season’s trip due to

broken ribs but enters this one after registering season highs of

seven receptions and 67 yards in a 23-13 win in Buffalo on Nov.

3.

The Chiefs used defensive touchdowns from Hali and Sean Smith to

match their 9-0 start from 2003 and offset a season-low 210 yards

from their offense.

Alex Smith completed 65.5 percent of his passes (19 of 29) for a

season-low 124 yards, and will face the Broncos for the second time

in his career. He led San Francisco to a 26-23 overtime win in

Denver on Dec. 31, 2006.

Charles, the league’s fifth-leading rusher at 725 yards, has

enjoyed recent success against the Broncos with a combined 576

yards in the last five meetings. He had a total of 160 in last

season’s two games but couldn’t prevent Denver’s first season sweep

since 2007.

Manning threw for 589 yards and five touchdowns with just one

interception in those two wins. His three TD passes started a

streak of 31 unanswered points in a 38-3 home rout Dec. 30, and his

30-yard toss to Demaryius Thomas in the third quarter Nov. 25 put

the Broncos ahead for good in a 17-9 win in Kansas City.

Reid’s teams, though, have been historically successful

returning from byes. While in Philadelphia, he won 13 straight such

games until falling to then-unbeaten Atlanta last season.

The Chiefs and Broncos will meet again in Kansas City on Dec.

1.