WOO HOO, Ultimate Fans! Our faith is being rewarded. Or at least our faith since last Sunday ;)
But for the first time in too long, the Broncos have a winning record in December and are vying for first place in the AFC West. And I love what our UFGer this week had to say about whether the Broncos have the ability to beat the Chiefs - Kansas City only has ONE more win than Denver and that should not be discounted. The Chiefs do not have to be seen as the juggernaut they’ve been. They are beatable, and the Broncos are an extremely likely team to be the next ones to do it.
So here’s to “toxic positivity” from PositivIntegral and a ‘W’ at Arrowhead!
Week 13: Broncos at Chiefs
MHR - Wow. Be honest, did you see that win against the Chargers coming?
PositivIntegral: Honestly?!? Yes! But that’s more me, than reality; we each do fandom in our own dumb way….but the signs were there - LaLa’s issues in run D, Teddy having some face to save, and team rest is not nothing. Maybe it was a trap game for ‘em but I don’t care. It was my favorite Broncos game since the 2015 bowl.
MHR - And even though the Chargers are a good team, they have weaknesses that the Chiefs do not. Before we get into the nitty, gritty - what’s your level of confidence in this Broncos team facing the Chiefs? If you just compare the teams on paper, how close are the Broncos to matching up well against the Chiefs?
PositivIntegral: You know what, the Chiefs also have weaknesses that the Chargers do not. As I get older I appreciate the old saw that ‘you are who your record says you are.’ The Chiefs are exactly one game better than us. Period. I will take that hand after the last six seasons.
MHR - Last week the offense FINALLY established the running game, but it’s not looking good for Melvin Gordon to play. How much is the run game a factor this weekend for the Broncos’ offense? Can Javonte Williams be a bell cow back on Sunday night?PositivIntegral: Of course; that they didn’t wear him out already is a true testament to our coaches - the run game is who we are and who we need to be. Everything flows from it and Williams’ game is perfect for making fools of DCs who think they can scheme it out of the chess match. It might just work.
MHR - Teddy Bridgewater completed 11 of 18 passes last week for just 129 yards. But the Broncos were 8-of-11 on third down conversions. What will be the key to this offense being efficient like that again this weekend?
PositivIntegral: You answered it with the question - third down conversions. Plus on third down breaks the other guy; everything else is window dressing. Teddy happens to be better at that - whether throwing long, checking down, handing off, or stumbling forward - than our last 17-something QBs.
MHR - The offensive line was a highlight last week despite starting without starting left tackle Garett Bolles and also subbing in linemen throughout the game due to injury. Do you think this line can put in another strong showing against a tough defensive line and pass rush?
PositivIntegral: You know what? I here and now declare this our strength. As long as Shurmur doesn’t get cute calling pass at the wrong time (and that’s much easier said than done) the depth at OL in the run game could be the horse we ride into the playoffs.
MHR - Pat Surtain, Caden Sterns, Baron Browning, Jonathan Cooper…a lot of rookies making a difference on this defense this season. How are you feeling about this year’s class, about GM George Paton’s first year so far given how much of an impact the guys he’s brought in (draft and free agency and trade) have had?
PositivIntegral: Ecstatic. There’s just a master poker player vibe about Paton. His time is now, the place is here. He’s living out my silly handle. It’s the cumulative work, not whether one dude gets a cramp or the ‘rona each week, that defines an era for a team.
MHR - The Chiefs’ rookie center Creed Humphrey has the highest PFF ranking for centers, and the entire O-line has been constantly getting better after a rough start. How much of a problem could their O-line be for Denver, and what will that mean for the Broncos line being able to stop the run led by Edwards-Helaire?
PositivIntegral: Heh, he hasn’t met DeShawn Williams, Mike Purcell, McTelvin Agim. Or Shelby Harris yet, so his previous stats mean nothing! But seriously - RUN and STOP THE RUN…there is no “try.”
MHR - I was on a Chiefs radio show Friday and the host asked me how I think our receivers stack up against the Chiefs’ corners. Of course I picked the good guys but I argued that the bigger x-factor in the matchup would be the accuracy from Teddy Bridgewater. How do you feel about Broncos receivers v. Chiefs secondary?
PositivIntegral: Simply put, I agree. Our WRs > their DBs. But if the ball goes awry… That was McCaffrey’s game - to take away picks. Our current crew is living up to that, but between injuries and youth…let’s just call for this being a 90th percentile game for TB.
MHR - Andy Reid + Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Clyde Edwards-Helaire VERSUS Vic Fangio + Bradley Chubb, Baron Browning, Kenny Young, Patrick Surtain II, Justin Simmons…which group has the upper hand?
PositivIntegral: Love this question. That’s many dice flying many directions, but I’ll go with experience. Those creeps have ~15 years to our ~10, not counting both crypt keeper coaches. Chefs have the upper hand, but that by no means hands them the victory without earning the damn thing.
MHR - Who will be the most important player/players on defense for the Broncos stopping the Chiefs?
PositivIntegral: Bradley Chubb. Now or never, golden boy. Don’t make me regret this.
MHR - Who will be the most important player/players on offense for the Broncos to get past the Chiefs?
PositivIntegral: Tim Patrick, though Williams will keep us in it. Tim’s clutch will decide the game.
MHR - Fill in the blanks: Broncos lose if _____. Broncos win if _______.
PositivIntegral: …Satan and Zuckerburg have their way….Williams and Sutton and Patrick and Bridgewater and Shurmer keep their s**t together!
MHR - All the rest of the games are technically “must-win” games if the Broncos will have any sort of hope this season. How many games do you think, err…*believe,* the Broncos will win from here out?
PositivIntegral: Dude!! This is the best AFC West season in a long while. The Broncos WILL win just enough games to get a wild card slot, but I literally have no idea if the division champ is half or four games ahead of us, and no idea whether we win three or five games to achieve it. I happen to like it that way, and the profits of my blood pressure meds could not agree more.
MHR - In my Horse Tracks I asked the question, “What would it mean for the Broncos’ season to beat the Chiefs? What would it mean if they don’t?” So what do you think?
PositivIntegral: Everything. Moses emerging from the desert pales in comparison to our beating the Chefs in their house in December. Sisiphus’ despair is nothing next to our l****** again; I can’t even type it, much less anticipate it.
MHR - All-time favorite win over the Chiefs?
PositivIntegral: THIS ONE
Stats for Teddy Bridgewater? 12/17, 300 yards
Stats for each Broncos RB? Williams 22 carries, 99 yards, 2 for 15 pass; Gordon 2 for 5/1 for 50, Boone 5 for 20
Number of yards receiving/TDs for each receiver? Sutton 3 for 77, Patrick 5 for 85, Juedy 1 for 30, Hinton 2 for 43
Longest FG for McManus on Sunday? 39 - we get that close ;-)
Number of sacks to Bridgewater? 2
Number of sacks to Patrick Mahomes? 5. Three to Chubb, like I called it
Broncos player with the most tackles? Chubb - 6 of ‘em for loss (including sacks)
Who gets the first sack in the game for the Broncos? The most? Weatherby / Chubb
How many INTs/FF/FR for the Broncos D? Not great (lightning being resistant to predictability)…0/2/1
How many penalties will the refs get wrong? 2 - one DPI on Surtain, and one OH on Bolles
Final Score? 21 Broncos, 20 Chiefs. We win by holding on 4th down at our 44 yard line at the 2:00 warning. Blood pressure med stock goes through the roof in pre-trading Monday.
Favorite Broncos regular season game with Peyton Manning? Chargers comeback, 2015 season
Favorite Broncos regular season game with John Elway? 1998; his last game with Rod Smith
Favorite postseason win, not a Super Bowl? Cheatriots: Mike Anderson in the snow ranks next to the birth of my eldest
Favorite Broncos game EVER? Yup, see above
Team you hate to lose to the most in the AFC West? Chiefs. It’s an abuse thing
Team you love to beat the most in the AFC West? Raiders. The family fireworks are epic
Team you hate to lose to the most in the entire AFC (outside of the West)? Effing Cheatriots
NFC team you cannot stand? Steelers; RotfNgburger is a lout
NFC team you could root for in the Super Bowl (if not playing the Broncos, of course)? Argh…admire the Ravens, Bears, Saints, and underdog Cardinals.
Favorite game looking forward to this season? This one; mostly to break the curse, partly to spout off in this forum ;-)
Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? That’s hard - this year more than most - really care for them all. But my wife roots for Melvin Gordon so I’m with her!
Favorite Broncos player of all time? It morphs (usually Champ), but RIP in love and light, Von Miller
Favorite new guy/rookie on the team? Shockingly good rookie class; but PS2 and Javonte Williams are as advertised, and I’m not being lazy calling the first two
Superstitions on game day? Spouse’s shirt means everything
Least favorite game analyst/commentator? Used to be Collinsworth, but lately some dud on Fox just working for the cap’n obvious crow. Who was that fawning lickspittle in the Chargers game?
Favorite sports cliche? That’s why they play the game
Favorite sports movie? The Two Towers
How did you get your MHR handle?
How did you become a Broncos fan?
All thinking people are Broncos fans!