For yet another year the Denver Broncos will close the regular season with nothing but pride to play for in the finale. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs need a win and a Tennessee Titans loss to earn the first round bye in the AFC playoffs. So while the Broncos are placing injured core players like Dalton Risner, Patrick Surtain II, Ronald Darby, Kareem Jackson, and Teddy Bridgewater on Injured Reserve, there’s little reason for Andy Reid and company to pull any punches.
To get a better idea on how the Broncos match up against the proverbial Super Bowl favorite, I reached out to Arrowhead Pride’s Tom Childs.
1st and 10
The last time these teams faced off Steve Spagnuolo forced Teddy Bridgewater into one of his worst games of the season. His injury means it will be either Drew Lock or Brett Rypien in the rematch. Does a new QB change the game plan?
Childs: No, I don’t think it does. As we saw last week against the Bengals, Steve Spagnuolo isn’t one for making too many adjustments. When the team had as much success as they did against Bridgewater, it would be crazy to change things too much against what I would consider a far inferior quarterback in Drew Lock. Keep an eye out for blitzes, Drew.
What does Drew Lock's statline have to look like against the Chiefs to lock in the QB1 job for 2022?— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) January 5, 2022
2nd and 7
Kansas City typically concedes the run when they face off against Denver. Why is that and do you expect it to continue?
Childs: Normally when teams give up the run, it is out of fear of being beaten by the quarterback. The theory is that defenses would much rather offenses be made to work for their success, as opposed to the quick-hitting score of the passing game. It’s a tactic that has been used for a long time against Patrick Mahomes. However, no offense intended, I can’t quite work out why such a tactic would or should be deployed against Denver. Perhaps it is out of fear of the abundance of pass-catchers? Whatever the reason, Spagnuolo was justified in his choices the first time around, when the Broncos went on a 20-play drive resulting in 0 points.
Broncos will be without Bridgewater after his injury, so you gotta imagine they'll ride the ground game with Lock or Rypien under center— Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp) January 6, 2022
Javonte Williams -- without Melvin Gordon to complement him -- still gashed the #Chiefs in Week 13 pic.twitter.com/AHOd7YidtR
3rd and 3
Since the Von Miller trade, the Broncos’ pass rush is extremely reliant on Fangio to generate pressure, which could be problematic against a QB no one smart blitzes. What can Denver do to slow down Mahomes?
Childs: Whatever Vic Fangio has done in the past against Patrick Magomes has seemingly worked — certainly in the eyes of the scoreboard. Every time these two teams play, Broncos fans must come away so frustrated because, in the large part, the defense has done more than enough to put their team in a position to win. Unfortunately for the Broncos defense, the offense simply has not played up to the level of their counterparts.
Although I must admit I am intrigued to see what Denver throws at Mahomes in this particular matchup — when the first meeting occurred, the Chiefs were in the middle of an offensive slump that looked never-ending. Now here we are on the back of four good games from Mahomes, it will be interesting to see if Denver can find similar success.
(CB Nate Hairston questionable with illness)— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) January 6, 2022
That leaves #Broncos healthy CBs:
Mike Ford https://t.co/HEMTOpOWm0
4th and 1
A Diontae Spencer muff was a costly error the first time around, and he had another mistake against the Chargers last weekend. Will Dave Toub decide this game for KC?
Childs: It’s hard for me to get behind any notion that involves Dave Toub deciding games when Patrick Mahomes exists. For all of the struggles of Denver’s special teams and the relative success of the Chiefs’ unit, I think special teams should probably be the least of Denver’s worries heading into this one. Yeah, a mistake may cost Denver a drive or even points — but if we’re being honest, this game will most likely be decided before that can happen.
He’s an accountability guy — and he puts it on himself. That is a credit to Tom as a person.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) January 5, 2022
What’s your prediction for the game? Broncos win if...? Chiefs win if...?
Childs: The Broncos can win if they get a career game from Drew Lock. If Drew Lock can let go and relax, then the weapons are there for the Broncos to have some success. I just have a real hard time seeing it happen.
The Chiefs can win and most likely will win if the offense can carry on where they left off. This will be a good measuring stick of where the Chiefs offense is at — especially considering the Chiefs struggles that they’ve previously had against Denver — but I can’t see the Broncos keeping up — even if #15 has an off day.
Broncos 10 Chiefs 27
Do the Broncos have a chance against the Chiefs?
This poll is closed
Any given Sunday...
Like a snowball in hades, maybe.