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Chiefs vs Broncos preview: Denver looks to end its season with an unlikely win

The Broncos close out the 2021 regular season vs a KC team that just lost a tough game to the Bengals.

The end is finally here.

After Saturday, another horrible season for the Denver Broncos will conclude. And the good news is the NFL flexed the game to Saturday so we can get it over a day sooner.

As for Saturday’s game, the Broncos host the ticked off Kansas City Chiefs who just lost a tough game to the Cincinnati Bengals. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs still have a shot at the No. 1 seed in the AFC, albeit a very small chance since the Tennessee Titans would have to lose to the Houston Texans. Of course, with how this season has gone, don’t rule it out. But anyone hoping Andy Reid will rest his stars ... it won’t happen.

Not surprisingly, the Broncos are massive underdogs to Kansas City at DraftKings Sportsbook. Earlier in the week, the line was +9.5. As for the over/under, the total sits at 45. An interesting betting tidbit: The under is 12-4 in Denver games this season.

Offensive Rankings

Kansas City: Third in overall offense (397.3 yards per game), 16th in rushing (113.8), second in passing (283.5), fourth in scoring offense (28.3 points per game).

Denver: Nineteenth in overall offense (328.4 yards per game), 14th in rushing (114.6), 19th in passing (213.8), 23rd in scoring offense (19.4 points per game).

Defensive Rankings

Kansas City: Twenty-sixth in overall defense (363.8 yards per game), 17th in rushing defense (113.0), 12th in passing defense (223.5), tied for 13th in scoring defense (21.3 points per game).

Denver: Tied for eighth in overall defense (322.1 yards per game), tied for 13th in rushing defense (109.8), 28th in passing defense (256.3), third in scoring defense (18.4 points per game).

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

Brace for a beatdown

Denver hasn’t beaten the Chiefs since Week 2 of the 2015 regular season. Nothing speaks to the level of suck in Broncos Country than that disgusting statistic. It won’t change Saturday, either, and it won’t matter what the Broncos do. Mahomes and KC are going to flog the Broncos as they prep for another Super Bowl run. I just threw up in my mouth. — Ian St. Clair

“Sweep the leg”

OK, just kidding. But playing “‘80s Raiders Dirty” and going for injuries to the Chiefs is probably our only way to win this game. So instead, I say hand off the ball to Javonte Williams or Melvin Gordon EVERY SINGLE DOWN you can at least try to get one or both 150-200 yards and get close to the 1,000-yard rushing season they both should (could) have had if the OC had been better. — Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann

Escape without major injuries

That’s pretty much the best the Broncos can hope for at this point. Denver’s last two opponents both took away the rushing game, with some help from the Broncos’ Covid struggles, and Denver’s passing game under Pat Shurmur and Drew Lock was only up to the task of generating 3 non-garbage time points in each game that weren’t handed to the offense on a silver platter by the defense. Will they do better against a KC team with a defense playing better than either the Raiders’ or the Chargers’ units? Not likely. So, please, guys: Just don’t get hurt. — Taylor Kothe

Season’s over

While I wouldn’t mind seeing my team beat the Chiefs for the first time in over six years, I also wouldn’t mind moving up the draft order well into the Top 10. Any big trade for a Hall of Fame quarterback would likely require a first-round pick in the Top 10. I’m OK with nabbing that here in Week 18. — Tim Lynch

Get your bingo card ready

Buy your favorite beverage. Something special. Get yourself to someplace you are comfortable. Your favorite chair, your den, maybe a bar you are comfortable sitting in for 3 hours on a Saturday afternoon. Get your Broncos bingo card out and every time you hear something like, “QB carousel,” “The call stands, Denver will be charged a timeout,” “Jeudy (or whoever is playing in his place) in motion,” or “holding, 72, offense,” or anything else that should be on the card (let us know what should be on there. Extra points for anyone who creates an actual bingo card), and drink every time you hear it. If you are going to be out, make sure you have a ride. At the end of the game, drink a toast to the end of the 2021 season. — Adam Malnati

What are your keys to Saturday’s game?