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Broncos-Chiefs preview: Denver will finally close the book on 2017

After Sunday’s glorified preseason game, it’s on to 2018 for the Broncos.

Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chief Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

One game left.

Then it’s literally on to 2018 the next day. Thank goodness.

As for the glorified preseason game on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, we all see what happens when a team decides to end the season on a good note ... it costs you a higher pick in the NFL Draft. That meaningless win over the Oakland Raiders in Week 17 last season really carried over to this one, right? Another rallying cry for Denver’s meme head coach that falls flat.

With the Broncos (5-10) playing for the No. 4 pick in the NFL Draft and the Chiefs (9-6) resting their starters, this is the preseason in December. At least the weather will be nice?

Offensive Rankings

Kansas City: Fifth in overall offense (375.2 yards), ninth in rushing (119.5), seventh in passing (255.7) and sixth in points (25.9).

Denver: Tied for 19th in overall offense (323.3 yards), tied for 13th in rushing (116.1), 21st in passing (207.1) and tied for 26th in points (18.1).

Defense Rankings

Kansas City: Twenty-eighth in overall defense (367.1 yards), 23rd in rushing (118.7), 27th in passing (248.4) and 14th in points (21).

Denver: Second in overall defense (284.1 yards), third in rushing (88), fourth in passing (196.1) and 22nd in points (23.7).

Here are our keys to the game.

No injuries

Similar to the game against the Washington Redskins, Denver must leave no-name Mile High Stadium with no one injured. Regardless of the outcome, if the Broncos do that on Sunday it’s a win. But, seriously, please don’t win this game. - Ian St. Clair

Who cares?

Throw Paxton Lynch out there and try to increase his trade value and get into the 2018 offseason with a top five NFL Draft pick. That is the single biggest key to this game for Denver. Even with the Chiefs resting their starters, I expect Lynch to continue his downward trend as an NFL quarterback and the Broncos should end up losing this game to finish the year 5-11. I hate being overtly negative on my team, but I am anxious to move on from this season and see what John Elway does to fix this. Let's go! Tim Lynch

Do what it takes to lose

If a loss guarantees that Vance Joseph is fired, which needs to happen, do it. - Adam Malnati

Leave it all on the field

At this point, the win or loss doesn't matter much to the fans. There's no shot at the playoffs, nor even a spoiler role to potentially play. We're all but locked into a top 10 overall pick. But the players are out there to win every week. And for a significant number of these guys, it's a very important week in regard to the future of their careers in the NFL.

So, more than anything, they just need to stay focused, execute, and play their very best. Because this could very well be an audition for whatever comes next for them. Or even if not for them personally, for some of their friends around them. - Taylor Kothe

Play your hearts out

While its true the win or loss doesn't matter, and in fact, a loss helps the Broncos with a better draft pick. However, they need to look good because the ripple effect could be massive. Case in point: We are looking for a new quarterback. If it's a draft pick, who cares? But if you want to look attractive to a free agent QB, you MUST play well.

Do you think Peyton Manning signs with the Broncos if they were 4-12 and looked like garbage? Hell no! He signed here because Denver made the playoffs with a running back playing quarterback. He saw the Broncos were literally one player (him) away from a championship team.

In order to convince any QB to come to Denver, you must have the film to convince him that he is the missing piece, and that will never happen if the Broncos get blown out for the fifth time this year. - Pete Baron

Don’t let the coaches coach

Let's see if this is really an execution problem by players or coaches being clueless. I have a guess, so let's find out for sure. Backyard rules for everyone. - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann

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What are your keys to victory for the Broncos?