The Denver Broncos will look to play spoiler.
Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs have locked up the AFC West, again, and could get the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Hence Denver potentially playing spoiler on Sunday.
On top of that, the Broncos will look to end their 14-game losing streak to Kansas City on Sunday. The odds don’t give Denver a great shot.
DraftKings Sportsbook has the Broncos as monster +13.5-point underdogs. Since Denver is on the road and just fired its head coach, this number makes total sense. As for the total, that number sits at 45. Miraculously the over as hit in three straight games, including the last time these two teams played in Week 14. On the season, the under is 11-4 in Broncos games. The over seems like the play here given how good the Chiefs offense is.
To preview the game, we go behind enemy lines with Tom Childs from Arrowhead Pride to get a feel for KC, how the fans reacted to the Week 14 game and how big of Cincinnati Bengals fans Chiefs Kingdom is this week.
MHR: What was the reaction from Chiefs Kingdom after the Week 14 game in Denver between these two teams?
Tom: I think it is safe to say there was a little frustration. Over the course of the season, we watched the Broncos offense struggle week after week. Then low and behold, the Chiefs roll into Mile High and voila — Russell Wilson isn’t stinking the joint out and the Broncos finally look like a serviceable NFL offense. Only the Chiefs, eh?! We understand that the Broncos do have some talent on offense and that they weren’t going to be bad all season. We were just annoyed that their mini-coming-out party was against us. Plus, if the Broncos could do this to Kansas City, then what will Josh Allen or Joe Burrow do?
MHR: How will Sunday’s game be different? What will KC’s defense change in its approach to the Broncos offense that somehow scored 28 points?
Tom: The one thing I didn’t mention in my first answer was complacency. There was way too much of that last time out, and so we fully expected the Chiefs to address it immediately.
They did not.
Just one week later, the Chiefs were once again showing their worst trait — this time against the Texans.
Thankfully, the Chiefs snapped themselves back into shape against the potentially dangerous Seahawks — arguably producing their most complete team performance in two months.
If the Chiefs show the levels of complacency they did in Denver and in Houston, then I predict we’ll see more of the same from the Broncos offense in the second half of their previous matchup. However, if we see the same level of focus, execution and tackling that we did against the Seahawks, then the Chiefs defense can absolutely smother the Broncos. This defense is a real Jekyll and Hyde unit.
MHR: It might feel dirty for Chiefs fans, but how big of Bengals fans are they this week? On a completely different note, who do Chiefs fans not want to see Denver hire as head coach?
Tom: The Bengals have become the latest addition to the ever-growing list of Chiefs’ rivals — so yes it does feel dirty — but needs must. At the end of the day, the aim of the game is to win the Super Bowl — and if supporting the Bengals for one week enables the Chiefs to edge one step closer to their goal, then so be it.
I really don’t want to see Sean Payton in Denver. Jokes aside, I still think that there is a half-decent player there in Russell Wilson. My fear is that someone like Payton will come in and resurrect Wilson’s career.
MHR: What is your best bet for Sunday’s game at DraftKings Sportsbook? Are you surprised at how massive the spread is?
Tom: I like the under on Jerick McKinnon total yards at 62.5. Despite an ever-increasing role in the offense, the Chiefs’ third down back has only eclipsed that total three times this season. If the Chiefs do the opposite of what they did on Denver when in the lead, then I expect a heavy dose of Isiah Pacheco who is more of a run-first guy. In turn, I like the over of his total yards number at 79.5.
I’m always surprised when divisional games have large spreads but when you look at the results during the Chiefs’ win streak, it is hard to argue with Vegas. Since the run began in 2015, the Chiefs have won by 13 points or more 6 times — just after half of the time — so I wouldn’t say Vegas was shooting blind. That’s not to say I am overly confident in the Chiefs to cover.
MHR: What are your expectations/predictions for Sunday’s game?
Tom: I think the Chiefs will win? (answered in the manner of Ron Burgundy reading a teleprompter). But you just never know at the time of year. Why did Denver have to go and fire Hackett this week? Why couldn’t they wait? New coach syndrome is a thing in all sports so I expect a bounce back of some sort by the Broncos. That being said, I shouldn’t be scared of a team that just conceded 51 points to a Baker-Mayfield-led team. The Chiefs will win; they may even cover. But it won’t be pretty.