Alex Smith has continued to improve year after year since coming to Kansas City, but this week is all about giving an opportunity to Chiefs’ top draft pick Patrick Mahomes and some of the other younger players. As the Chiefs are locked into the four seed in the AFC, there is little surprise that head coach Andy Reid is willing to play his younger players. For this younger core on offense, they have an intriguing opportunity against a Denver defense that is still tough on opponents. The Broncos defense enters this week ranked third against the run and fourth against the pass.
While the Chiefs will be in the playoffs for the third straight year, the Broncos will sit at home for the second straight season. This could also be a telling game for the Broncos. Many questions about Vance Joseph’s future during his first season arose. The quarterback situation for Denver also continues to be a never-ending roller coaster. The Broncos are going to back to Paxton Lynch this week. Brock Osweiler will start again. Siemian was the starter to begin the season, but has quickly become a forgotten piece of the Broncos future.
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What should Chiefs fans expect from Mahomes in his first NFL start? The biggest knock on Mahomes coming into the NFL was his footwork, but being under the tutelage of coach Reid and the veteran Smith could result in a much more polished game by Mahomes this week. There was even a bit of progression of his happy feet turning into relaxed feet throughout the preseason.
Fans can also expect to see Mahomes take shots and try and fit some throws in the smallest windows possible. There is a good chance that we see Mahomes complete a few highlight throws. However, fans should also not expect a perfect game.
The Broncos still play hard at home. Despite that fact, Denver will finish at the cellar of the AFC West. This season the Broncos have allowed 18.9 points per game at home, compared to 27.9 on the road. All in all, this will still be a game full of excitement for the future. Win or lose doesn’t matter quite as much at this point.