The Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs will be playing to get a leg up in a tight AFC West divisional race. I preview the matchup here.
For the first time this season, the Denver Broncos will face off against the Kansas City Chiefs. Both teams are in a tie for second place in the AFC West. Kansas City owns the tiebreaker due to divisional record.
The reason why that is important is because both of these teams currently sit as the fifth and sixth seed in the AFC Playoffs. The Chiefs are the fifth and the Broncos are the sixth seed.
Depending on how the Oakland Raiders game goes against the Carolina Panthers, this game will either be for the AFC West lead or just simply a higher seed in the playoffs.
The Denver Broncos will be coming off a bye while the Chiefs suffered their third loss of the year against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week.
This game was originally supposed to be played in the late afternoon time slot. However, the NFL deemed this game a strong matchup to flex into their Sunday Night Football game.
If the Denver Broncos are looking to take a game away from the Chiefs, the running game needs to get going. As of Week 11, the Chiefs rank 27th in run defense.
It will not be easy though. Justin Houston has returned to the lineup and he is solid when it comes to the run and putting pressure on the quarterback.
However, a member of the Kansas City secondary is hurt. Marcus Peters has a hip pointer injury, so that will be one that will be looked at closely by both teams.
Keys to the Game
Run, Run, Run The Ball
When the Denver Broncos run the ball, they win games. As is shown in the tweet below.
And even better news. The club on Andy Janovich’s hand was taken off during the bye. Meaning that, if Gary Kubiak executes it, we will see a lot more of Jano this weekend.
The running game is much more balanced when Andy Janovich is in the game. And he can get the short yards if needed.
Devontae Booker has done a solid job in C.J. Anderson’s absence. It will be important for him to get going against the Chiefs defense.
Get off to a fast start
This key worked well against the New Orleans Saints. And it will be important for the Broncos to do that against a tough Chiefs team.
While the offensive numbers might not reflect their 7-3 record, they have used their defense to keep games close enough to win. Scoring 20 or more points in the game might be the key for the Broncos to win against the Chiefs.
This means no mistakes from Trevor Siemian or the offense. Just get down field and score some points and let your Super Bowl defense take care of the rest.
Rattle Alex Smith Early and Often
Let us not forget that Alex Smith may not run often, but he can if needed. And it often surprises us.
The key for this is to make sure he does not want to run in the open field. Having a heavy dose of Von Miller and Demarcus Ware breathing down his neck will be important.
If the Broncos can cause some havoc and get Smith out of his rhythm early, it could be a long day for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Broncos wide receivers vs. Chiefs Secondary
Devontae Booker vs. Chiefs Front Seven
Alex Smith vs. Broncos Secondary
The Denver Broncos play well coming off a bye week. All-Time, the team is 30-10 coming off a week off. That is best in the NFL.
Not to mention that this team will be returning home for the first time since October 30th against the San Diego Chargers. The fans are sure to be fired up.
Even more so since the game is on a Sunday Night.
With that being said, the Broncos will use the running game and the week off to get a signature win late in the season. It could be closer than people anticipate.