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Broncos at Chiefs preview: Will Lock momentum bust the losing streak to KC?

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Excitement and hope have returned to Broncos Country, here’s how the Broncos can keep it rolling on Sunday.

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There’s a feeling in the air we haven’t experienced in a while.

Genuine excitement.

Heck, even hope.

When it comes to the Denver Broncos, it’s an incredible turn of events. The last two games have altered not just Broncos Country but the organization. And it’s all thanks to rookie quarterback Drew Lock. His play has passed the eye test, but it’s where and when he’s making plays that make it hard not to buy-in. More than that, it’s his attitude and desire to get even better. Lock’s confidence is contagious. What’s in store for Sunday in Kansas City for Lock and Denver? Will the Drew Train keep rolling or hit some cracks in the tracks?

On the MHR Radio Podcast (Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify), Adam Malnati and I tried to discover when Broncos Country can get truly excited about Lock. We also break down what to look for in Sunday’s game at Arrowhead Stadium agains the Kansas City Chiefs (9-4), and we wonder if this is finally the game the Broncos (5-8) snap the eight-game losing streak to KC.

Offensive Rankings

Denver: Twenty-seventh in overall offense (303.1 yards), 18th in rushing (106.9), 29th in passing (196.2) and 27th in points (18.2).

Kansas City: Sixth in overall offense (381.7 yards), 27th in rushing (93.0), fourth in passing (288.7) and fourth in points (28.5).

Defensive Rankings

Denver: Twelfth in overall defense (331.2 yards), 21st in rushing (115.2), sixth in passing (215.9) and tenth in points (20.1).

Kansas City: Twentieth in overall defense (364.8 yards), 28th in rushing (137.7), 12th in passing (227.2) and 14th in points (21.6).

Here are the MHR staff’s keys to Sunday’s game.

Execution

When you come out rolling like the Broncos did against the Houston Texans, that sets the team up for success. Denver is amped up. Its running around. Its having fun. Its making plays. But what allows for that to happen is the execution. Jeff Essary mentioned this last week, it doesn’t matter what the game plan is or the plays that are called if the players don’t make it happen. If the Broncos want to end this ridiculous streak to Kansas City, they have to execute. If Denver does that, the Drew Train will pull into Arrowhead and leave victorious. — Ian St. Clair

Rush to set up the pass

KC’s pass defense has developed into something pretty decent this year, so don’t expect another offensive explosion off of Lock’s arm. Instead, the Broncos need to primarily ride a creative rushing game against a Chiefs run defense that’s given up 100 or more rushing yards eight times this year and 200 or more rushing yards twice. If Denver is effective on that side, it will open up opportunities for Lock & Co. to make strikes downfield. — Taylor Kothe

All about the defense

Von Miller needs to shake Mahomes’ injured hand really hard before the game ... just kidding ... sorta. Also, the defense needs to show up like it did against Houston. Kareem Jackson set the tone early and he or someone else will need to do so again. This is a division rivalry and technically there’s still something to play for this year, so this team should need no further motivation. Kick them in the butt and make it three straight for the rookie. — Kevin Gillikin

All about the defense II

This week is as big a test. I know his hand has been a big question, but if the Chiefs bring Patty Melt and his full arsenal into the game it’s a huge mismatch on paper. Vic Fangio and the pass defense have to keep the magic going. Doing what they did to Deshaun Watson and the Texans will go down as one of the most surprising outcomes in any Broncos game in recent memory. Slowing down Kansas City will be even tougher. — Joe Rowles

Second-half success

The Broncos have been able to jump out to early leads all season, only to falter in the third and fourth quarters. Even in their wins agains the Los Angeles Chargers and the Texans the offense sputtered in the second half. They can’t let up offensively against the high-powered Chiefs offense. Even with a banged up Patrick Mahomes, KC has the ability to score quickly and often. There is no doubt the Broncos will struggle at Arrowhead. The crowd noise will be an issue, but if Lock and the offense can jump out to a lead and then continue to put their foot on the gas, they will have a chance a win. — Adam Malnati

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What are your keys to the Broncos winning on Sunday?