This used to be a rivalry.
Now it’s morphed into a glorified bye week for Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Denver Broncos have not beaten the Chiefs in 15 straight games. Based on how the first five games have gone, that streak doesn’t appear likely to end on Thursday night in Kansas City. The Broncos are hot garbage and Kansas City is a Super Bowl contender.
DraftKings Sportsbook has Denver as a massive +10.5-point road underdog. The line isn’t surprising at all. It’ll be interesting to see if that number goes up or down heading into Thursday’s game. In terms of the total, that sits at 48. Given how bad the Broncos defense is, Mahomes and the Chiefs could hit that number by themselves.
MHR: How is Chiefs Kingdom reacting to the first five weeks of the season?
Tom: I’ll be honest, I don’t think anyone knows how to react as it stands. Sure, the Chiefs are 4-1 and that should never be taken for granted. But being as successful as they are, fans of the Chiefs tend to look a bit further afield — basically the playoffs.
What troubles many is how the offense can get their act together. Who is going to be the guy(s) who step up and really takes the WR1 and 2 position? It’s stuff like this that has fans second-guessing the team and questioning how good they really are.
But one thing that gets lost far too often is the date. Bill Belichick always says that the season doesn’t really start until Thanksgiving. Up until that point, if the Chiefs can continue to rack up wins while addressing some of their issues, then they’ll be there or thereabouts come the rest of the season, I am sure.
MHR: Since it’s the talk of the NFL, sports and entertainment world, are Chiefs fans Swifties now? How are Chiefs fans reacting to the Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift relationship?
Tom: The haters gonna hate, hate, hate, I am sorry.
There’ll always be people who have no interest in pop culture and sports mixing. That’s just the way some are wired. I don’t think that’ll ever change.
Personally, I am here for it. Their relationship and his newfound global presence is the type of thing that will make Netflix produce a documentary on the Mahomes era one day.
Perhaps I am reaching there.
Swift and Kelce’s relationship is putting the Chiefs in the spotlight. Just today my brother asked me if Taylor Swift’s boyfriend is any good. That is literally the first time he has ever asked me about the Chiefs.
That small example is why their relationship is good for the sport. I have no doubt it has already led to new eyes on the game. That has to be a good thing, right?
MHR: What is the biggest area of concern for the Chiefs right now? From the outside, it appears that receiver is a liability for the KC offense. Is that accurate?
Tom: 100%. They’re just not producing. We’re getting flashes from players like Rashee Rice and Justin Watson. But it’s the other two guys that take the bulk of the snaps that concern me. MVS and Skyy Moore play just as many snaps as Watson and double what Rice does. — yet neither is producing at nearly a level that is good enough.
Preseason favorite Justyn Ross has looked dangerous when playing but he isn’t seeing the field nearly enough. Personally, I think the snaps are going to the wrong guys based on what we’ve seen so far.
Going forward I would love for the Chiefs to give Ross and Rice more snaps and relegate Moore and MVS to the bench. In a dream scenario, I would like for the Chiefs to trade for a receiving threat of any kind before the deadline. Kyle Pitts perhaps?!
MHR: What is your best bet for Thursday’s game at DraftKings Sportsbook? And is there any shot the Broncos cover?
Tom: I think the Broncos can cover. Just last season, the Chiefs rolled into Denver to face a team that looked awful offensively for weeks on end. All of a sudden Russell Wilson looked like a capable quarterback once again, throwing for 247 yards and 3 touchdowns.
With Sean Payton in charge, I don’t find it hard for the Broncos to have success against the Chiefs’ defense, no matter how well the latter is playing.
As for my best bet: The Chiefs will try to do what everyone else has done and run all over the Broncos, so a nice safe bet of over 16.5 rush attempts for Isiah Pachecho at -100.
MHR: What are your expectations and predictions for Thursday’s game?
Tom: I expect the Chiefs to lean hard into the run game — frankly, they’d be mad not to.
If the Chiefs have success on the ground early then it’ll be a long evening for Broncos fans. But if by some miracle, the Broncos find a run defense then this will be a close game, as I think the Broncos’ defenders will be able to have success against the Chiefs receivers.
The Broncos will score points, and the Chiefs will have one or two questionable moments that make the Chiefs Kingdom scratch their collective heads.
All of that paired with the weirdness that typically comes with this fixture will amount to a game that will be closer than many expect.
Chiefs 23 Broncos 20