It’s a testament to Vic Fangio and the Broncos’ coaching staff that they’ve found a way to field a top ten defense in the NFL through the first six weeks of the season. It doesn’t get any easier in week 7.
1st and 10
Travis Kelce was unstoppable the last time these teams met. Is there any way the Broncos can slow him down?
Steffen: Teams have tried to put additional coverage over Kelce but it leaves other weapons open. Without Watkins in the lineup, it takes away another major threat over the middle. If the Broncos want to take Kelce away without giving up too much help elsewhere, the best bet is to chip him off the line. Knock him off of his stem and disrupt the timing. Also, while Kelce has gotten better about it, the consistent physicality and knocking him down within the first five yards can get in his head. If the Broncos are willing to get less pressure by chipping with their defensive line or devote coverage to stack him, it can be done. Playing sounds throughout the secondary will be essential though with the number of other weapons on the Chiefs offense.
The broadcast did a great job of bringing this up but the Raiders brought in Littleton to help cover TE's like Kelce. It didn't go well for him in this one. 32 yd gain on this breakout route pic.twitter.com/KW7Xk3t3QT— Travis Steffen (@SteffenNFL) October 15, 2020
2nd and 10
There was some debate earlier this week that the Broncos should just let Reid run the ball so it takes the ball out of Mahomes’ hands. Is that a viable strategy?
Steffen: Defenses have been dropping seven or eight in coverage more consistently this year to make it difficult for receivers to get open. The only way it works is if the three or four rushers are getting pressure. Also, it means devoting to mostly zone coverage to keep eyes on Mahomes to limit his running ability. The Chiefs were finally able to take advantage of that this past Monday night when Buffalo consistently devoted to coverage with lighter boxes. With some changes on the interior offensive line, Kansas City was finally able to provide Clyde Edwards-Helaire with blocking that allowed him to work. It resulted in 245 rushing yards on the night. Forcing the Chiefs to run the ball does make it more difficult as it forces the offense to sustain longer drives. However, they proved they can still have success. Adding in Le’Veon Bell this week to pair with CEH makes that an even harder run game to defend.
Keizer motions to pre-snap. Once the ball is snapped, Hill and Keizer sell the end around, sending most of the defense to that side.— Travis Steffen (@SteffenNFL) October 21, 2020
The OL creates a wall giving CEH a massive hole. He jukes 21 out of his shoes and takes it for 31 yds early in the game. pic.twitter.com/cQ4YvXPV3q
3rd and 9
While the Chiefs passing O is once again the best in the league, I’ve seen some concern among analysts about Mahomes drifting in the pocket due to all the injuries up front. How could Fangio and the Broncos make him uncomfortable?
Steffen: Mahomes drifting too far back in the pocket isn’t anything new this season. It was a problem last season as well at times. While it did happen in the game against the Raiders after Osemele went down with an injury, I dont believe thats the sole cause. Its also not something that is consistent on a weekly basis. He tends to clean it up after a bad game. The additions along the interior didn’t have a chance to prove themselves much against pass rush in Week 6 but I still feel more confident in the interior now than I did before the changes. If the Broncos can force quick pressure up the middle early in the game several times, it’s possible they could get him in that bad habit again. Consistent pressure up the middle and taking away Kelce in that middle of the field role would have to be consistent for the first quarter or two to make it happen.
Mahomes struggled again in Week 5 bringing more pressure on himself or leaving clean pockets too early. He drops back to about 10 yds behind LOS, DE coming around right edge is at 11 yds when closing. Instead of stepping up into a clean pocket, Mahomes scrambles pic.twitter.com/fa4Ge77Bma— Travis Steffen (@SteffenNFL) October 15, 2020
4th and 4
What do you think Le’Veon Bell adds to this offense? Will he be a factor Sunday?
Steffen: Bell is coming in to take more snaps from Darrell Williams than he is Edwards-Helaire’s snaps. The Chiefs have yet to give their rookie back many opportunities on third downs or in the receiving game. However, adding Bell gives Kansas City two talented backs that are patient, tough to bring down, and weapons in the passing game that can line up anywhere. The Chiefs made Shady McCoy an instant starter after picking him up last year. While McCoy had experience under Reid and the Chiefs aren’t expecting Bell to start, I doubt he plays that big of a role. Not in his first week. Im sure Reid will have some special plays ready for him to get him going though.
What’s your prediction for the game?
Steffen: The last time these two teams faced was arguably Drew Lock’s worst game so far in his early career. The following games he looked a lot more conservative with the ball. Whether or not that game still gets in his head or not we will have to see but I’m sure Spagnuolo will have some packages to confuse him again this weekend. Even coming off a dominating performance against the Bills, I dont expect a blowout. This is still a division game. I think a lot of it will come down to how Lock plays. Does he continue to struggle against KC again this week or can he keep better pace with the Chiefs offense that will find ways to score? I would say Chiefs win, 27-17.
Who you got Sunday?
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