The Denver Broncos are looking to do something they haven’t done since 2015.
To be frank, there are a lot of things the Broncos are looking to do for the first time since 2015, but let’s the one that could be tackled this weekend.
Denver hasn’t beaten the Kansas City Chiefs since Week 2 of that season. That’s 16 straight games. In fact, the Broncos have never beaten Patrick Mahomes since he became the Chiefs starting quarterback. For those counting at home, that’s 12-0.
Is this finally the week Denver ends this losing streak?
DraftKings Sportsbook certainly doesn’t think so. The Broncos are over a touchdown home underdog to Mahomes and Kansas City. The total for Sunday’s game sits at 46. The under has hit in the last two games, including the most recent game with the Chiefs in Week 6. For the season, the over has the edge at 4-3.
Kansas City: Second in overall offense (396.7 yards per game), 18th in rushing offense (111.3 YPG), second in passing offense (285.4 YPG), tied for sixth in scoring offense (25.4 points per game).
Denver: Twenty-first in overall offense (311.0 yards per game), 17th in rushing offense (111.6 YPG), 22nd in passing offense (199.4 YPG), 19th in scoring offense (21.1 points per game).
Kansas City: Seventh in total defense (294.6 yards per game), 16th in rushing defense (105.7 YPG), sixth in passing defense (188.9 YPG), second in scoring defense (15.0 points per game).
Denver: Thirty-second in total defense (424.7 yards per game), 32nd in rushing defense (167.3 YPG), 30th in passing defense (257.4 YPG), tied for 31st in scoring defense (31.0 points per game).
Here are the MHR staff’s keys to Sunday’s game.
Show up on offense
If ever there was an evergreen key to the game, especially this season, this is it. When these two teams met on Thursday Night Football in Kansas City, had the offense managed to do anything, namely score 20 points, the Broncos give themselves a decent chance to win the game. Of course, Mahomes and the Chiefs offense may very well have been toying with Denver. But Russell Wilson and the Denver offense have to score at least 24 points if this streak is going to end on Sunday. No disappearing acts as this offense is akin to do, as it almost did again against the Green Bay Packers. — Ian St. Clair
Run the ball, play good defense
I saw the formula this team must have to win games in 2023. They need to find success running the football, which will allow Russell Wilson to make plays now and in then in the passing game. Then they need to keep playing good defense. They held the Chiefs to 19 points on the road two weeks ago and if their offense can score over 20 again, then they could start winning some games. A win over the Chiefs this week would completely turn the season narrative around, but a loss would merely push Denver back into the hole they’ve been in for seven years. Oh and the Chiefs are the best team in football right now, so good luck with that. — Tim Lynch
Ian has been saying this on Broncos Odds and Endzones all season; the Chiefs offense is not as good as they used to be. Yes they have Mahomes and Kelce, but they can be slowed down. That means they have a chance to get a win if they can exploit the fact that KC, while still really good, might not be the juggernaut they used to be. So how to exploit that? End every offense possession no worse than a kick, whether that is a TD, FG or Punt. In other words, no turnovers. You can’t give Mahomes free chances. — Adam Malnati
Execute in the red zone
Field goals are good enough to beat the Packers, but KC will make you pay for leaving four points on the field. I believe the Broncos offense is good enough to get in position vs the Chiefs, but the unit has to capitalize. Leaving anything short will have consequences. — Nick Burch
The Denver Broncos are -4 in turnover differential, which ranks in the bottom quarter of the NFL. The Chiefs are even on the season and in the middle of the pack league-wide. Denver’s offense has struggled immensely over the past few weeks. They aren’t in a position to turn the ball over. That puts even more pressure on the Broncos’ defense, who will need to force a turnover or two to have a shot at winning.
I disagree with Adam’s comments above. The Chiefs still have a great offense. They rank Top 5 in DVOA, Top 6 in points scored, and Top 2 in yardage gained. If the Broncos want to snap their 16-game losing streak, they are going to have to force turnovers and capitalize off of them. Vance Joseph’s defense did its part on Thursday Night Football a few weeks ago, but a game-changing play on defense that results in points for the Broncos would go a long way toward securing a victory in their upcoming rematch. — Christopher Hart