Greg Cote

Greg Cote’s Thursday NFL pick: Broncos vs. Chiefs

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has zero touchdowns in 21 drives, including the preseason.
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has zero touchdowns in 21 drives, including the preseason. AP

BRONCOS (1-0) at CHIEFS (1-0)

▪ Line: KC by 3

▪ Cote’s pick: DEN 23-20

▪ TV: 8:30 p.m. Thursday, CBS/NFL (airing in South Florida)

Much chatter among the NFL literati and many fans about the supposed sharp decline of Peyton Manning at age 39. It’s true he was pretty bad in the opener and now has produced zero TDs in 21 drives including the 2015 preseason. Wasn’t real great late last year, either. But I still say your team is in pretty good shape if its biggest problem is Peyton Manning. Denver’s defense is really good; I’d called RB C.J. Anderson’s iffy status a larger concern for Broncos here than Manning. Peyton will be fine as long as his O-line can keep him fairly clean against a high-octane KC pass rush. Manning usually is really good on Thursdays (123.7 career rating), and Broncs have won six straight in this AFC West rivalry including past four at Arrowhead. Also, Peyton is 17-1 vs. division as a Bronco. That’s enough to negate the home-field factor and turn back the Chiefs. Upset! Well, if you insist on calling it that. Doesn’t feel like one to me.

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