Sept. 17, 2015; that’s the last time the Broncos faced the Chiefs and won. I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I’m fully convinced the next time will come tomorrow night.
Three weeks ago, I would’ve laughed at myself for even thinking about a Denver win against Kansas City. But now, it makes all the sense in the world. Don’t believe me? Let me try and change your mind.
Here’s why the Broncos are catching the Chiefs at just the right time.
For one, the Kansas City defense is almost comically bad. If there was ever a week for Rich Scangarello’s offense to break out of their scoring funk, it’s this one. The Chiefs allow more than 400 yards per game, 27th worst in the NFL. Their opponents score, on average, 24.0 points per outing. Against the run, they are the third-worst group in the league, giving up just shy of 162 yards a week; in KC’s two straight losses, both the Colts and Texans relied heavily on the ground game to eat up the clock and pound the defense into submission. That’s a formula the Broncos should be able to recreate.
Second, with Patrick Mahomes not fully healthy, the Chiefs superstar looks human. He’s still dangerous, but with a bum ankle, he’s nowhere near the magician we are used to seeing every Sunday. Before Mahomes aggravated that injury in the second quarter of last week’s game, he was 10-for-16 with 189 yards and two touchdowns. Afterwards, the wounded quarterback completed just 9-of-19 pass attempts for 84 yards, a touchdown and an interception. On a short week, there’s not much chance that injury is miraculously going to heal. A compromised Mahomes is an opportunity this reinvigorated Broncos defense can take advantage of.
That brings me to the most important reason for confidence in a Broncos win. Admittedly, I’m stealing this metaphor from Mike Evans of the morning show, but it’s the perfect explanation for the Chiefs biggest flaw. According to Evans, Kansas City is a Ferrari in a school zone.
What on earth does that mean? It’s pretty simple. The Chiefs (their offense in particular) are a really cool, flashy product that’s fun to watch and produce a ton of highlights, but when it comes to the flow of the game, success isn’t practical. You take that Ferrari into a school zone and you’re either wasting gas in a long, slow line of cars or you’re picking up a ticket for speeding right on through. That’s what we’ve seen on the field for the last two weeks.
Fast, awe-inspiring scoring drives that are great in a vacuum, but they also put an incredible amount of pressure on an already struggling defense. Andy Reid’s offense doesn’t know how to slow down and they’re paying the price for it. Asking them to all of a sudden change what it is they’re built to do in a three-day span is completely unrealistic, and it plays right into the hands of Vic Fangio’s bunch.
Now, none of these things matter if the orange and blue can’t go out onto the field and execute their game plan. And frankly, you won’t find me putting anything down on a Broncos win tomorrow. At the very least though, there’s hope – real, tangible, explainable hope.
Plus, after seven consecutive losses at the hands of Kansas City, the Broncos are due for a win. Why can’t it come tomorrow night?