KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The last 10 days could not have gone much worse for the Kansas City Chiefs.Beginning with a humiliating loss to Oakland, a team that had lost 16 consecutive games, and ending with the sobering news that popular and talented safety Eric Berry could have lymphoma, it has been a period marked by frustration, anxiety and uncertainty.Its been a tough week for us. Its a lot going on, running back Jamaal Charles said, but at the same time, we have to start getting focused. We have a big game this week.The Chiefs (7-4) welcome the AFC West-leading Denver Broncos (8-3) to Arrowhead Stadium.The game Sunday night between two bitter rivals has a little more riding on it this time around. After Kansas City lost a competitive game in Denver in Week 2, the beleaguered team needs a victory over Peyton Manning and Co. if it wants any shot at winning the division.Were playing at home, a great environment to be playing a division team — we know we got to win this game, Charles said. This game is a go-out-there-and-get-it win. We know we have a tough challenge with a Hall of Famer and a great defence coming to town. I think were up for that challenge this week. We control our own destiny right now.So do the Broncos. Not only would a victory give them a stranglehold on the West, it would allow them to keep within striking distance of New England for the AFCs best record.They have the same goals that we have. Its really about who wants it more, Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said. Well have our hands full.Its not as if the Broncos havent had to overcome their own adversity lately.After losing Montee Ball to a groin injury and Ronnie Hillman to a foot issue, they have leaned on second-year, third-string running back C.J. Anderson to balance the offence.Tight end Julius Thomas remained limited in practice this week after hurting his ankle Nov. 16 against St. Louis. Linebacker Brandon Marshall could be sidelined with a concussion, leaving a rotating cast of characters to take over his job. And then theres placekicker, where they signed veteran Connor Barth this week to replace first-year pro Brandon McManus.This team has good flexibility, Manning said, and I think that is important when you have a 16-game season for a player to be able to move to a different spot; to be able to run different types of plays and different types of formations and win games different types of ways. I think that is important for any team and I feel this team can do that.Still, can they do it in a hostile environment? The Broncos are unbeaten in six games at home, but theyre just 2-3 on the road, including a stunning loss to St. Louis a couple of weeks ago.That crowd can cause communication problems for teams, Manning said, and so that is what you have to home in on all week, whether its practicing with the crowd noise and really being on top of the game plan. You need to protect the ball, certainly, like in any game, but especially on the road and try to be good in the red zone, try to really fight crazy there.There are plenty of subplots to the game, too, including a few players with personal stakes in the outcome. Here are a few more things to keep an eye on:BIG VICK: Chiefs defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson was released by Denver in August. Even though hes been limited with a calf injury this week, he vowed to be on the field against his old team. Im rolling Sunday, he said. You cant stop me out of this one.HEAVY HEART: Charles is dedicating the game to two teenagers who drowned in a Missouri farm pond last weekend. He recalled this week meeting one of them at training camp a few of years ago.ABOUT ARROWHEAD: Sure, it can be an intimidating place, and the Broncos were terrible there once upon a time. But they have not lost in Kansas City since 2010. I think weve won every game weve been there since Ive been here, Denver coach John Fox said.STOPPING PEYTON: The Chiefs have yet to allow a 300-yard passer this season — not Tom Brady, Philip Rivers or Manning, who had 242 yards passing against them in September. The key thing with him is you get him to third down and youve got to win enough to get off the field, Chiefs defensive co-ordinator Bob Sutton said, because hes going to complete passes.REINFORCEMENTS: The Chiefs signed Jason Avant last week to bolster one of the NFLs worst wide receiver corps. Avant played for Kansas City coach Andy Reid in Philadelphia and should be up to speed in time to play Sunday. I know I can play, said Avant, who was released by Carolina. If you ever see me play, Im a very competitive person. I like to prove those people right that acquired me.___AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org
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. Directly ahead was open field, the end zone and the Seattle Seahawks place in the NFC championship game.ATLANTA - Right-hander Gavin Floyd was activated from the disabled list on Sunday and will start on Tuesday against St. Louis as a replacement for Ervin Santana, who has swelling below his right thumb. Santana, a right-hander, said he jammed the thumb on an inside pitch from Cincinnatis Homer Bailey on April 25. He said the thumb felt fine after that game. He said he had swelling on his hand below the thumb in his last start against the Marlins on Wednesday. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Santana is expected to miss only one start. Gonzalez said he tentatively expects Santana to start on Saturday against the Cubs. Santana said the swelling is improving each day. He said hes never had a similar injury. "No, this is my first time hitting," he said with a smile. Santana played in the American League with the Angels and Kansas City before signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Santana, 3-0 with a 2.41 ERA, had a light wrap on his right hand on Sunday. The Braves optioned left-handed reliever Ian Thomas to Triple-A Gwinnett, clearing a roster spot for Floyd. Santanas injury temporarily clears a spot for Floyd in the rotation. When Santana returns, Gonzalez faces another difficult decision only days after moving David Hale to the bullpen to clear a rotation spot for left-hander Mike Minor. "We always talk about how it will take care of itself," Gonzalez said. "It will take care of itself for a week, and then well make a decision. Were not going to go with a six-man rotation." Floyd signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Braves in December after his 2013 season with the White Sox wwas shorted by an elbow injury.dddddddddddd He had surgery last May to repair the ulnar collateral ligament and a torn flexor muscle in his right elbow. At the time of the surgery, there were projections that Floyds rehabilitation would last longer than a year. "I just went out and did all the work I had to do and did all the things I could," Floyd said. "A year later, Im active and healthy and real happy about that. "Im excited about pitching and excited to get out there Tuesday and after that what happens will be dealt with." The rotation includes Santana, Minor, Julio Teheran, Alex Wood and Aaron Harang. Gonzalez said this week he doesnt want to move Wood, a left-hander, to the bullpen — at least not immediately. Gonzalez kept that option open for later in the season as the team might need to limit Woods innings. Harang had the NLs best ERA before giving up nine runs in a loss to the Marlins in his last start. Floyd, 31, has a 70-70 career record with Philadelphia and the White Sox. His best season came in 2008, when he was 17-8 with a 3.84 ERA with Chicago. He hasnt won more than 12 games or had an ERA under 4.00 since 2008. Thomas was 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA in 10 games. Gonzalez said he wants Floyd to work as a starter at Gwinnett so he can develop his slider. "Its hard to work on your secondary pitches when its second and third and youre facing Bryce Harper," Gonzalez said, referring to the typical situation Thomas faces as a reliever in the major leagues. The move leaves Luis Avilan as the Braves only left-handed reliever. Avilan is 3-1 with a 7.04 ERA. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
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