The Chiefs are 3-0 as they head to Denver for Monday Night Football. This is a similar spot to last season when Kansas City played on Monday Night after starting 3-0. Last year it was a comeback win at home against Washington that lifted the Chiefs to 4-0. Meanwhile, the Broncos enter the matchup at 2-1, following their first loss of the season at Baltimore. This game is being treated like a must win by the Broncos. Denver cornerback Chris Harris mentioned earlier in the week that he’s “going into this game with the mindset that it’s a championship game.” With that said, let’s take a look at some of the headlines heading into the Chiefs-Broncos game on Monday night.
When the Chiefs defeated the Chargers in Week One, it was the ninth straight win for Kansas City against that certain division rival. Going into Monday night, they have another chance to extend a division win streak. They have won five straight against the Broncos, including three straight in Denver. During the five-game win streak, the Chiefs have averaged 29.6 points per game. The Broncos have averaged just 18.6 points per game. The Chiefs are also 17-2 since the start of 2015 in AFC West games.
The Broncos are an interesting team to prepare for right now. The offense has had its moments, yet has not reached its full potential with newly acquired quarterback Case Keenum. Keenum has just three touchdowns to five interceptions, yet the rushing offense has thrived. The rush attack is averaging 144.7 yards per game, which is third best in the league. That is also with a duo of rookie rushers, and an offensive line that is still trying to improve. The strong running attack has not always translated on the scoreboard, as Denver is averaging right around 20 points per game. The Broncos red zone percentage is also so-so, being successful 50% of the time so far in the red zone. That does not bode well against the Chiefs, who hold a 92% efficiency in the red zone, the second-best mark in the league.
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Matchup to Watch: Chiefs Pass Rush vs Broncos Offensive Line
The Chiefs had their most successful game rushing the passer last week. Kansas City’s pass rush came away with four sacks and was close on other occasions as well. This Denver offensive line has been a work in progress for a couple of years now, and Keenum has generally struggled with pressure. Keenum does not have the patience that other quarterbacks possess to stay in the pocket and get a pass off before taking a hit. He will generally move his feet early and try to escape. If the Chiefs can continuously get to him, it could be an inconsistent night for Keenum.
Patrick Mahomes set yet another NFL record last week. His 13 touchdown passes through the first three games broke an old mark that was held by Peyton Manning. What’s just as impressive is that he has no interceptions.
In just three games, his 13 touchdowns are already two shy of how many touchdowns Alex Smith threw for all of the 2015, a Pro Bowl season for Smith. That’s also just half of the most touchdowns Smith threw for while in Kansas City, which was 26 last season. The most touchdown passes in a single season in Chiefs history is 30, by Len Dawson in 1964, so Mahomes is almost halfway there on that mark.
The Chiefs continue to grow as the Touchdown Bunch, with nine different players already catching a touchdown pass this season. In all of 2017, only seven different Chiefs players had a touchdown reception.
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