The Denver Broncos (8-6) are seeing their season slip away. Their backs are truly against the wall, and frankly, their playoff hopes could be all but over by the time they even take the field Christmas Day against the Kansas City Chiefs (10-4).
I said last week, that if Gary Kubiak abandoned the run game the Broncos would lose the game. That is exactly what Kubiak did. A week removed from a 51-pass, 10 point effort against the Tennessee Titans, Kubiak let Trevor Siemian loose again with a 40-pass, 3 point effort against the New England Patriots.
He has either learned his lesson or will continue forth with the insane notion that the Broncos offense is good enough to pass its way to victory. At this point, it wouldn’t surprise me if that is exactly what he does.
Kickoff is set for Sunday, December 25, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. Mile High time at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Merry friggin’ Christmas, Broncos Country!
TV schedule and TV channels
The game will be broadcast nationally on NBC’s Sunday Night Football with Al Michaels (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (color analyst), and Michele Tafoya (sideline reporting) covering the game.
NFL Game Pass offers live audio and re-airs after the game.
DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket has expanded its online streaming service. Verizon subscribers can watch games live with the NFL Mobile app (subscription required, and usual TV blackout rules apply even online).
Nationally, the game will be broadcast on WestwoodOne Sports with Kevin Harlan (play-by-play), James Lofton (color analyst), and Scott Kaplan (sideline reporting).
Colorado can listen on KOA (850 AM) or The Fox (133.5 FM) with Dave Logan (play-by-play), Ed McCaffrey (color analyst), and Andy Lindahl (sideline reporting).
Spanish radio KNVR (1150 AM) will also broadcast the game with Javier Olivias (play-by-play) and Carlos Valdez (color analyst).
The Broncos opened 3.5 point underdogs on the road against the Chiefs, which feels a bit low considering how poorly the offense has performed for three consecutive weeks now. Since then, the line has actually fallen to just a 3 point spread in favor of the Chiefs.
It is looking like the Broncos may have several star players sitting this one out. Brandon Marshall is progressing, but still not participating, while A.J. Derby, Virgil Green, and T.J. Ward are all still out with concussions. Matt Paradis has yet to participate with his ailing hip, while Derek Wolfe is still out with a neck injury. The list is long this week.
|Chris Harris Jr.||CB||NIR||DNP||FULL|
|Jared Crick||DE||Rib Cage||LIMITED||LIMITED|
|Todd Davis||ILB||Rib Cage||FULL||FULL|
The big focus in this game has to be limiting the damage from Tyreek Hill (also known as a pregnant woman puncher and choker) can do on both special teams and as a wide receiver. Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis has plans to play keep away in the return game, so that should help.
“It’s a challenge, there’s no question about that,” DeCamillis said. “He’s really hot right now. You’re going to have to move the ball around. You can’t give him the same ball all the time. We have to do a great job with our leverage, with our tackling and hopefully take some of those balls away. The best way to do it is not to punt. Hopefully we don’t have to punt at all, that would be great. Then, we wouldn’t have to worry about at least one phase of it. He’s an exciting player and really he’s done a good job so far. Going into our game, I think he had two called back at that time and since that time has scored against us and scored against Oakland. He’s an excellent player.”
There are two ways this game could go. One involves Kubiak continuing to think he can win games by throwing the ball 40-50 times and the other involves Kubiak being patient with the run game. If he does the stupid thing, the Chiefs could end winning 31-10 and completely running away with this game. The Broncos defense could limit the damage, but it sure seems like they are on the brink.
The way I think this game actually goes is that the Broncos offense finally has some consistency and sticks with the run game all the way through.
Unfortunately, I just don’t think that is going to be enough to overcome playing in Arrowhead in December or the Super Bowl hangover this team is fighting through.
Prediction: Chiefs 20, Broncos 17