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Establishing the running game crucial for success against Chiefs

Slowing down Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense won’t be easy, but establishing the running game against a defense giving up over 5 yards per carry would be a good strategy for the Broncos to employ.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Broncos Country!

After a disappointing loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the Denver Broncos have now turned their focus toward the Kansas City Chiefs in preparation for the upcoming showdown on Monday Night Football.

Sparked by second-year gunslinger Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs are one of only three remaining unbeaten teams in the National Football League and undoubtedly are sporting the hottest offense in the NFL. Mahomes’ fast start is similar to what Broncos fans witnessed with Peyton Manning under center during his record-breaking 2013 campaign — awesome for the good guys, but terrifying for opponents. Unfortunately, given the Broncos’ penchant for giving up yards through the air in 2018, it’s understandable that most of Broncos Country lacks optimism with respect to Monday’s gridiron battle and are already preparing for a horror show on the first day of October.

Though it doesn’t have to be that way. For how incredible the Chiefs’ offense is, their defense is horrendously bad, and present a prime opportunity for the franchise to rebound after a tenuous effort on the road in Baltimore.

There isn’t much to write home about when talking about Kansas City’s defensive unit. The Chiefs rank dead last league-wide in regard to yardage allowed and are thirtieth in points given up. Additionally, they are surrendering the most yards through the air per game and a woeful 5.2 yards per carry on the ground. If there was any time for the Broncos’ offense to get back on track, this would be the week.

With that said, it is doubtful that Denver can keep pace with the Chiefs in a shootout. So I have a different strategy to suggest for the upcoming game: establish the running game, control the clock and keep Mahomes and Co. off of the field. It’s a big gamble to take against a team who can light up the scoreboard with ease and poses a significant risk of getting down scores early if the defense doesn’t do their job — but to me it’s one worth taking.

In order for that to be effective, the offensive line will have to do much better than it did against the Ravens. It will also require quality performances from rookies Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay, who have been impressed (for the most part) early on in their careers with the Broncos. Most importantly, the unit cannot afford to continue it’s path of self-inflicted wounds, whether it be from penalties or untimely Case Keenum interceptions. Efficiency will be crucial and if Denver can take a step forward in that regard, the game on Monday night shouldn’t turn into a catastrophic blowout.

When I think of past Broncos-Chiefs match-ups where the running game played an essential role in Denver’s success — I have fond memories of Clinton Portis carving up the Chiefs for over two-hundred yards and five touchdowns, as well as Quentin Griffin scampering for three touchdowns on Sunday Night Football. Oh, Terrell Davis also had some great games on the ground during his Hall of Fame career too.

Here is to hoping that the Broncos rebound this week with a win against the Chiefs, which would give them the lead in the AFC West.

As always, thank you for reading and here is today’s offering of Horse Tracks.

Horse Tracks

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