The Kansas City Chiefs return home for a date with the Denver Broncos following their big win last week. Last week, Kansas City clinched the AFC West division for the fourth straight season. Meanwhile, Denver is playing spoiler with rookie quarterback Drew Lock, who returns to KC to face the team he rooted for growing up. There are many storylines to look towards for Sunday’s game. So, let’s get things started with our Chiefs versus Broncos game preview.
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Since returning from injury, Patrick Mahomes has been shaky. After hurting his hand in New England last week, the Chiefs reportedly dialed back the game plan. He has yet to really have the “Mahomes” game since early in the season. Injuries are part of that, however Mahomes knows he needs to find some consistency. He talked about that this week, and no one is harder on him than himself.
Thankfully for him, the weapons are starting to find their grooves. Tyreek Hill is always difficult for defensive backs to hang with. Mecole Hardman continues to score touchdowns. Elsewhere, Travis Kelce is showing how multidimensional he can be. He took a direct snap and ran for a score against the Patriots. Despite all this, Mahomes is still looking to find comfort and consistency. A division game between the Chiefs and the Broncos could be just the contest for that to happen.
For the Chiefs defense, they are suddenly what has been carrying the weight of the team for the last three games. This unit has a strong attitude, and are not afraid to boast about. Chris Jones and Frank Clark dominated the Patriots’ offensive line last week, and knew they could do it again. Clark talked about facing New England in the playoffs again. Most of all, he believes they can hang with anyone.
Tyrann Mathieu‘s impact is also showing. He has been doing it all. From blitzing, to closing down and snuffing out routes, to playing in different spots, he’s been amazing. The defensive backs have found their roles in the scheme.
This week, they will have to be ready for anything Drew Lock will have up his sleeve. The Chiefs haven’t faced him before. However, Lock has historically come down to earth after a big game in college. Will that be the same in the NFL? With the way the Chiefs defense is playing, it may be tough sledding for Lock and the Broncos.
The Chiefs running game has been a troubling ordeal all year long. They are still searching for consistent answers. Last week, the game really should not have been that close. But, with Kansas City’s difficulty to run the ball, it’s hard to chew the clock. Damien Williams has a chance to return this week. Darwin Thompson has been good in limited opportunities. Spencer Ware still looks to be in good shape. Lastly, LeSean McCoy is still working to get the full trust back from Andy Reid.
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On the other hand, the Broncos are in the bottom half of the league in run defense. They enter this Sunday having allowed 115.2 yards per game and 4.2 yards per carry. Like Mahomes, this could be a possible get right game for the Chiefs’ rushing attack. Going into the playoffs, they will have to find some mojo there eventually.
Sutton and Fant
Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant have enjoyed quite a hot stretch for the Denver Broncos. Sutton has made dazzling catches, and has shown he can be the go to guy, for which to lean on. He is just as dangerous deep down the field, as he is in intermediate routes. Sutton leads Denver in targets. To boot, he has 448 more receiving yards than any other Broncos wide receiver.
Fant is also picking up steam to end his rookie season. The Iowa product has not had the best rookie campaign, but he has shown just how dynamic he can be. If he makes a catch in the open field, he has underrated speed to run for days. Fant has two 100 yard games over his last five contests. Also, tight ends have been seeing increased looks since Lock became starting quarterback.
Matchup To Watch: Chiefs Offensive Line vs Broncos Pass Rush
It’s no secret the Chiefs offensive line has been underperforming. They rank among the top half in the league. But, the ability for the quarterback to maneuver in the pocket has decreased. Meanwhile, Derek Wolfe and Shelby Harris have enjoyed nice stretches recently for Denver. The Chiefs will need to be smart not to underestimate the Broncos’ pass rush.
Denver is just 3-17 all time in December games at Kansas City. Those three winning quarterbacks are John Elway, Kyle Orton and Peyton Manning.
The Chiefs have defeated the Broncos in eight straight games, and have won 27 of 30 in the division.
Kansas City’s defense in the last three games: 14 points allowed per game, allowed 10 of 36 third down conversions and allowed just 3 of 10 conversions for touchdowns in the red zone.
Drew Lock has not trailed in a game since becoming quarterback. Denver has led or been tied with him the last two weeks.
That will wrap up our Chiefs versus Broncos game preview. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.
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