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Broncos at Chiefs preview: Denver looks to keep up with rival KC (it won’t)

Here’s how the Broncos can buck the recent trend and at least keep the game competitive with the Chiefs.

The Denver Broncos have failed to beat the Kansas City Chiefs in 10-straight games.

That’s just insane.

The Broncos haven’t registered a win against their rival since Week 2 of the 2015 season. The plus to getting this out of the way so soon is it allows us to remember how that season ended. I guess? But then reality is like a 2x4 and smacks you in the face again.

Now comes the next opportunity to end this ridiculous streak. Denver (4-7) has opened as a 14-point underdog to the Chiefs (10-1). Can the Broncos at least keep it close? And how rare is it for Denver to be this big of a dog? That’s where we are at this point in the rivalry.

On the MHR Radio Podcast, Adam Malnati and I gave our keys to the game, players to watch, and game predictions.

Offensive Rankings

Denver: Twenty-seventh in overall offense (325.2 yards per game), 14th in rushing (113.5), 26th in passing (211.7), 31st in scoring offense (19.0 points per game).

Kansas City: First in overall offense (396.0 yards per game), 18th in rushing (111.3), first in passing (314.5), second in scoring offense (31.6 points per game).

Defensive Rankings

Denver: Eleventh in overall in defense (341.4 yards per game), 27th in rushing defense (131.3), seventh in passing defense (210.1), 24th in scoring defense (27.1 points per game).

Kansas City: Eighteenth in overall defense (360.7 yards per game), 23rd in rushing defense (128.2), 16th in passing defense (232.5), sixth in scoring defense (21.6 points per game).

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

Fast start

The Broncos have to play a near perfect game, and the only way they have a shot is a fast start. Whether it’s on offense or defense, Denver can ill afford a sluggish start, as it’s prone to do. If it’s offense, move the ball and score a touchdown on the first drive. On defense, force a three-and-out. The Broncos need to find a way to get momentum, and a fast start is the best way to make that happen. — Ian St. Clair

Follow COVID-19 protocol

Wear your masks so an undrafted rookie offensive lineman doesn’t have to play quarterback this week. — Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann

Stop the run

Everyone knows Drew Lock has to play the best game of his life to win this game. That still won’t be enough if the Broncos can’t slow down the run even as Vic Fangio commits to light boxes to combat the aerial assault. — Joe Rowles

Ferocious Broncos pass rush

Denver will be down their best corner in Bryce Callahan, so the guys up front are going to need to help out the backend as much as they can. Expect Fangio to continue to bring the heat to try and keep Mahomes off balance, but the front-4 are going to need to get pressure without blitzing throughout the night to really have a shot at slowing down the Chiefs attack.

Solid offensive game plan

Aside from Broncos Country settling in for what could be a long night, Pat Shurmur has to put together a solid game plan. Put Drew Lock in a position to succeed. Give the offensive line help with multiple linemen and tight ends. Limit the possibility for mistakes by setting up the pass with running plays, play action, and boots that give Lock extra space and time. — Adam Malnati

What are your keys to Sunday’s game?