Woo Hoo, ultimate fans, we finally got another W on the season record last week and now we’re looking for another!
Sure, it’s the defending Super Bowl champs.
Sure, it’s a Chiefs team we haven’t beaten in 16 tries.
Sure, Mahomes and Kelce are more formidable than Wilson and...name a receiver of your choice.
But as this week’s ultimate fan so artfully points out, the talent differential between the two teams isn’t terribly far off, but the Broncos will have to play a near flawless game while capitalizing on even the smallest mistake by the Chiefs.
Working in our favor is the fact that JasonAult16 is going to this game with his family, introducing his 5-year-old to his first live football game at Mile High. There’s got to be some magic in there somewhere.
Let’s go Broncos - hit these Chiefs like Atwater on Okoye.
Week 8: Chiefs at Broncos
MHR - How did you feel about watching the Broncos win last week? Was it a new experience?
JasonAult16: Due to the game not being shown locally where I live (stupid Chiefs game) and the Broncos’ recent ineptitude, I used the afternoon to get some things done outside while listening to the game. I did find a not-exactly-legal stream to watch most of the fourth quarter. As the lead melted away, I had the dread of “here we go again” until P.J. Locke snagged the game-sealing interception. My son was watching it with me, and he got pretty excited from my excitement.
Could the Broncos have played better? Sure. But after all of the close losses that the Broncos have suffered in recent history, I never…NEVER…skip a chance to celebrate a win. Let’s build on that and go get another one.
MHR - The last time the Broncos played the Chiefs (a mere 2.5 weeks ago), the defense held Mahomes & Co. to 19 points, which is impressive generally but especially after being the same unit that let a team score 70. Do you think they can do that again?
JasonAult16: If you look back at all the games that Patrick Mahomes has played against the Broncos, particularly when Vance Joseph has been with the Broncos, Mahomes has never exploded like, for example, his performance last week against the Chargers. He has certainly played well but has not exactly “gone off.” Can the Broncos do it again? Of course they can. They’ll be at home, which might help some. The fact that these teams just played should help. Things should be pretty fresh.
MHR - Travis Kelce is…an f-ing problem (keeping is safe for the kids here). How do the Broncos stop him? Can Josey Jewell and Alex Singleton cover him enough?
JasonAult16: Yeah, Mr. Swiftie (see what I did there?) is a huge problem. In fact, I will say that other than Mahomes, he is THE problem. Finding a way to contain him will be a large chunk of the battle. I know that VJ runs a lot of zone, which is maybe what slows down Mahomes a little, but if there could be some sort of a modified coverage that keeps an overall zone scheme with man coverage specifically on Kelce, that would help. How possible that is, I don’t know.
MHR - Baron Browning is back to help Jonathan Cooper and Nik Bonitto against Mahomes this time around. Can those three get enough pressure to make Mahomes uncomfortable? What is the best way to pressure Mahomes - if he escapes the rush, he’s dangerous.
JasonAult16: They obviously have to find a way to get pressure. Mahomes doesn’t like getting hit (not that any quarterback does), so making him uncomfortable will be so important. Unfortunately, because of KC’s scheme, he is able to get rid of the ball so quickly. In the first game between these two teams, I saw a stat about how a large chunk of his passing yardage came from passes that were only thrown 10 yards or less downfield (obviously then picking up lots of YAC).
MHR - The Chiefs offense has had a harder time finding solid receivers for Mahomes this season, but last week seemed to find a groove with four touchdown passes. How will our secondary hold up, especially without KJack?
JasonAult16: I at least feel better about K-Jack’s absence after P.J. Locke made the big play last week. As I said earlier, if they can find a way to slow Travis Kelce, that will solve a lot of issues. The secondary (and defense in general) has to capitalize on the Chiefs’ offensive miscues. If Mahomes makes a bad throw that can get picked, the defender has to catch the ball. If a Chiefs player puts the ball on the ground, the Broncos have to recover it. If the Chiefs commit penalties that put them in second/third-and-long situations, the Broncos defense has to stay solid to get off the field. Don’t bail out the Chiefs with your own mistakes, penalties, etc.
MHR - On the offensive side of the ball, the Broncos keep having a tough time getting into the end zone, even when they make it to the red zone. But field goals won’t be the Chiefs. What kinds of red zone plays would you like to see?
JasonAult16: Sean Payton is enough of an offensive schemer that I wouldn’t be shocked at all if a trick play or two popped up in the red zone. Still, I am the kind of guy who likes teams who play smashmouth and pound the ball in the endzone. Sometimes, Kansas City can get cute with redzone calls, and against the Broncos, it has bitten them in the hindquarters. I go back to the greatest game in this rivalry, the playoff game at Arrowhead on Jan. 4, 1998. On the Broncos’ game-winning score, it took three shots to punch it in at the goalline but they finally did. Nothing cute about it. Just “We are going to run the ball down your throat. Try to stop us. You probably won’t.” It works.
MHR - Last week proved that running the ball is a good idea for the Broncos’ offense. What kind of yardage devoted to the run game would you like to see on Sunday?
JasonAult16: Not sure how to answer “yardage” (though I picked 170 yards in my stat predictions), but running the ball needs to happen early and often. If you can run the ball effectively, you can shorten the game and keep Mahomes and crew on the sideline. I think Andrew Mason recently mentioned a SNF game from the Chiefs Super Bowl season in 2019 when Indianapolis went into Arrowhead, ran the ball effectively, and kept possession for like 45 minutes. Not sure how realistic that is, but it would be helpful if the Broncos could mimic that in some way.
MHR - Chris Jones is also an f-ing problem. How do you think this Broncos’ offensive line can beat him?
JasonAult16: Short of going all Lloyd Christmas on him and spiking his Gatorade with questionable substances, it just has to be a team effort, one with lots of attitude. Scheme is definitely important, but those guys up front have to take it personally and make sure that Jones doesn’t wreak havoc.
Forecast for Sunday’s Chiefs-Broncos game in Denver calls for a high of 29 degrees, a low of 13, with 6-14 inches of snow, per the National Weather Service.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 28, 2023
MHR - It is supposed to be cold on Sunday, maybe some snow. Does that favor one team over the other?
JasonAult16: The Chiefs do enough short passing that they will still be able to do most of what they can do in normal situations. Still, the cold conditions will even moreso favor the team that can control the line of scrimmage. The Broncos offensive line has seemed to improve in recent weeks, so I want that to continue. On the flip side, the Broncos defensive line will have its hands full with a pretty good Chiefs offensive line…though it seems like there might be ways to have success there.
MHR - As a Kansas native, you better be a Ted Lasso fan (if you’re not, don’t tell me). And Ted Lasso had a great speech that thinking “it’s the hope that kills you” is a bad mantra. Instead, he said, it’s “the lack of hope that comes to get you.” And he prefers to believe in miracles. Is it possible that a miracle could happen on Sunday and the Broncos could beat the Chiefs?
JasonAult16: While I have not been able to see the entire series of TED LASSO, I love the episodes/scenes that I have watched. (The “practice” scene mimicking Allen Iverson is beyond FANTASTIC). The Wichita State connection is also cool for me.
But yes, the Broncos CAN win this. They certainly need to play very well to have a chance to win, but this isn’t Georgia playing an FCS school. The talent difference between the Chiefs and Broncos really isn’t as far apart as Chiefs blowhards might think. The Broncos have had opportunities to win in recent years but have made dumb mistakes at inopportune times (Case Keenum overthrowing DT in 2018 on what would have been game-winner in 2018 or Melvin Gordon fumbling at the goalline in 2021) or have endured some bulljive officiating (Courtland Sutton pass interference and Chris Jones roughing no-call at Arrowhead last year).
The old adage says that “close” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, but the Broncos have indeed been agonizingly close several times. They just need to close it out one of these times and win it.
MHR - Who wins this one?
JasonAult16: This will obviously be a tough game that will require the Broncos to play nearly flawless to win. The Broncos very easily could lose this game. The analytical side of me knows that very well.
But this is Ultimate Freaking Fan Guide, and I wanted to have some fun with the following prognostication. Sooo…..
The home team will be inspired and motivated by the presence of Denver Ault, a strapping lad making his Mile High fan debut. Meanwhile, the other sideline will feel so much inadequacy and intimidation at the sight of the legendary youngster that Kermit will whine to refs even more than he normally does. (I had to throw in that nickname somewhere.)
Refusing to let down their guest of honor, the Broncos will prevail 24-20. After the game, Denver Dude will do humanity a favor and throw Jackson Mahomes into a frigid Sloan’s Lake.
Stats for RUSSELL WILSON? 200 yards, 1 TD pass, probably an unfortunate INT mixed in there somewhere
Stats for each Broncos RB? Williams 70 yards with 1 TD (because I need the fantasy football help), McLaughlin 60 yards, Perine 20 yards, Russ 20 yards
Number of yards receiving/TDs for the receivers? Sutton 80 yards with TD catch, Jeudy 70 yards, others 60
Longest FG for Lutz? 40 yards. This won’t be a game to rely on long kicks.
Number of sacks to Patrick Mahomes? 2 sacks
Number of times Mahomes escapes a sack? Too many
Broncos player with the most tackles? Alex Singleton
Who gets the first sack of the game for the Broncos? Baron Browning
Who gets any sacks? Baron Browning and Nik Bonitto
How many INTs/FF/FR for the Chiefs D? Probably an INT and fumble somewhere
How many penalties between the two teams? Too many for the Broncos, not enough for the Chiefs
Favorite Broncos win ever? Super Bowl XXXII. Period. End of discussion. This will forever be the greatest win in Broncos history.
Favorite Peyton Manning win? I was incredibly fortunate to attend the 2015 AFC Championship Game, which is my favorite in-person sporting event of all-time. Not necessarily a Peyton masterpiece, but he did enough to just help the Broncos win that game (as opposed to hindering the effort). That game of course will be remembered for Von Miller absolutely wrecking Tom Brady. The sack when the Patriots were backed up inside the 10 was a Top 10 all-time play for me, based on my berserk reaction.
Favorite John Elway win? For me, I think of two wins at Arrowhead. I mentioned the playoff win in the 1997 playoffs. I have a pretty crazy story about watching the game with my family in the midst of our preparation for my grandfather’s funeral the next day. The other one is the very first Broncos game I attended with my dad on November 12, 1989. Stop me if you have heard this before, but The Duke led a fourth-quarter drive to beat Marty Scottenheimer. Like my previous Peyton comment, neither game would be considered an Elway statistical masterpiece, but he made just enough plays to help the Broncos escape victoriously from the hellhole known as Arrowhead.
Favorite memory of the John Elway-Joe Montana showdown at Mile High in 1994? I honestly don’t remember much about this one. I was in sixth grade at the time. Back then, MNF games started at 8 p.m. Central, as opposed to 7:15-7:30 now. I don’t remember if I fell asleep or was made to go to sleep at a certain point, but I didn’t see the ending of this one. My dad woke me up for school this next morning and said that I missed a great game. “Did the Broncos win?” I asked. “No, but it was just a great game.”
Team you love to beat the most in the AFC West? Living in southcentral Kansas, it’s the Chiefs and will likely always be the Chiefs. I absolutely hate that it hasn’t happened in a while.
Coach you despise most in the NFL? I am not a fan of Andy Reid’s cute playcalling when it isn’t necessary (hello Dontari effing Poe), but the answer of this question is Josh McDaniels. How that guy is an NFL head coach is beyond me. He stunk in Denver and then absolutely screwed over Indianapolis years ago. There aren’t enough bad things that can happen to him. I hate that the Broncos have yet to defeat him as the Raiders coach.
Team you hate to lose to the most in the rest of the AFC (outside AFC West)? Steelers, Ravens, and Patriots are all teams that have annoyed me at various points
NFC team you could cheer for in the Super Bowl? San Francisco. I like the Denver connections there. I kinda wish Kyle Shanahan was coaching here. That said, if the Chiefs make it back to the Super Bowl, I would root for anyone…even the Dallas Cowboys (Young Jason who lived in Oklahoma during a couple of the Cowboys Super Bowls in the 90s just threw up a little inside).
NFC team you’d want to face more than any other in the Super Bowl? If Russell Wilson was still our quarterback, I’d want to punk Seattle for multiple reasons. Other than that, it would be fun to knock off Dallas on Super Bowl Sunday. I am still beyond incredulous that Jerry Jones got into Canton before Pat Bowlen did.
Toughest game left on the schedule after the Chiefs? Next game at Buffalo. After that, there honestly isn’t a game that really scares me. I think the Broncos “could” win any of them. That said, I also don’t see a single for-sure win on the schedule. The Broncos could easily lose any game left as well.
Favorite Broncos player on the current roster? Justin Simmons. Baller on the field, and more importantly, a role model off the field. I would be proud if my son grows up to be like Justin. I understand the reason why it could happen, but I will be sad if Justin gets traded this upcoming week before the deadline.
Favorite Broncos player of all time not named John Elway? This is like choosing between my children. I love so many of the Broncos legends. I will probably go with Shannon Sharpe. The guy played with such a swagger and redefined the tight end position. Others have and will retire with better stats, but Unc Shay was the trailblazer.
Favorite new guy/rookie on the team? Jaleel McLaughlin has been fun to watch. I see a little bit of Darren Sproles in him, who Sean Payton used quite effectively in New Orleans.
Food/Snack your son has to eat on game day? Lil Man loves his cookies. Oreos. Chocolate chip. Pumpkin snickerdoodles. Denver Dude is quite versatile in the cookie game.
Favorite game analyst/commentator? I love Mark Schlereth. Obviously the Broncos connection helps. I have met him and conversed with him online a few times. Great dude. Funny. Knowledgeable. Man of faith (which is important in my life). Not afraid to call out the Broncos for vigorously inhaling.
I know this is going to be the first game your son, Denver, gets to attend. What are your hopes for his experience and what do you want him to remember (besides the food, because trust me, that’s what kids always remember!)
JasonAult16: Denver is only 5, so he is still learning about this thing called football and might not remember a whole lot about this weekend. However, as he gets older, I hope he learns to treasure this time spent watching ballgames together, particularly when we can make the trip to his namesake city. I have special memories watching sports with my parents, grandfather, and uncle. It is not so much about the games themselves, but just spending time with loved ones. Sure, it is more fun when the Broncos win, but even in defeat, I cherish the time that I have spent with loved ones traveling to/from sporting events.
As always, thank you, Laurie, for letting me write another article with you. It is always so much fun to do this. Maybe one of these years, we can actually connect at 5280 feet and cheer for the Broncos together in person!
*editor’s note: I hope so! Annndddd...maybe we’ll even see them win!