The Denver Broncos won in week one despite getting almost nothing from their offense. If they want to win in week two and get off to a 2-0 start, they may have to find a way to win again with even less. Per reports, starting running back C.J. Anderson is questionable to take the field on Thursday night, when the Broncos will face the division rival Kansas City Chiefs.

Anderson sustained toe and ankle injuries in a rough matchup with the Baltimore Ravens last week, where he managed just 29 rushing yards on 12 carries. Anderson was spelled by backup rusher Ronnie Hillman more than once during the game, as his injuries were impacting his effectiveness. Anderson was originally thought to be fine to face the Chiefs, as head coach Gary Kubiak had publicly stated exactly that following the game.

A few days later, the night of Denver’s biggest game of the young season, and Anderson’s status is suddenly “up on the air”.

That news isn’t final, as C.J. Anderson could still fight through the pain and take the field on Thursday Night Football. However, the fact that he’s still in question suggests he very well could end up sitting out and even if he does start, he could see limited action.

While Ronnie Hillman is more than capable of being an effective runner (he proved it several times in 2014), the Broncos got weak production out of their offensive line a week ago and Kansas City’s defense is not an ideal matchup. Juwan Thompson would provide solid depth behind Hillman, but both could be overmatched against a stout run defense that can also put pressure on Peyton Manning.

The problem? An ineffective Manning could be forced into carrying the offense for the second week in a row. Considering he did a horrible job of accomplishing that in week one, there’s every reason to fear a total Denver offensive collapse. If that happens in the hostile environment of Arrowhead Stadium (where Tom Brady famously imploded last year), the Broncos could be in serious danger of losing a huge early season AFC West battle.

It could be too early to worry so much about Manning and this Denver offense. The Ravens are no slouch defense and one bad game doesn’t mean the Broncos suddenly can’t overcome tough obstacles. But the absence of C.J. Anderson certainly won’t help matters in week two. Make your week two NFL bets accordingly.

Update: C.J. Anderson is now said to be active for tonight’s game. He could still be limited but his presence greatly helps the Broncos stick to their run-based plan.

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