Game Overview ::
By mike johnson >>
- The Chiefs still have a chance at the #1 seed in the AFC, if they win both of their remaining games.
- Russell Wilson has a chance to use the last two weeks of the season to prove that recently fired head coach Nathaniel Hackett was the problem with the offense.
- Chiefs games have been significantly higher scoring on the road than at home.
- The Broncos defense has fallen off significantly after a dominant start to the season.
How denver Will Try To Win ::
The Broncos offense has not had many bright spots this season. One of the only times they looked competent, however, was the two and a half quarter stretch in Week 14 against these same Chiefs in their first matchup. The Broncos scored 28 points in the last 32 minutes of that game, which was their highest point total of the season. Last week, Denver was embarrassed on Christmas Day, losing 51-14 to the lowly Rams on national television, and promptly fired their head coach, Nathaniel Hackett, which is a move that many had been calling for since very early in the season. One of the bigger storylines of this NFL season has been the fall from grace of Russell Wilson after the Broncos gave up a boatload of assets and a $235 million guaranteed contract for his services this offseason. He has rewarded them with one of the worst seasons of any QB in the league. There has been a lot of debate on where the blame lies between Wilson and Hackett, and now Wilson has the last couple of weeks of the season to try to paint the narrative that he wasn’t the main problem.
The Broncos rank middle of the league in pass rate and have been relatively conservative most of the year, despite an offseason filled with promises of an explosive downfield attack that played with a fast tempo. Denver has had a lot of injuries among their skill players this season, with their backfield now consisting of older replacement level or lower running backs and most of their ancillary receivers being out at this point. Making matters worse, their dynamic receiving duo of Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy have battled injuries for much of the season, and last week against the Rams was the first time the two of them were both healthy for a full game since Week 8. There are a lot of unknowns for a team when they remove their head coach, especially when it is an offensive minded head coach like Hackett, who clearly had his imprint on a lot of what they are doing. There is some guesswork involved, but I would expect the Broncos to play with a bit more tempo and pass more than we have seen in the past, as they look to turn the page from Hackett. The majority of their targets will likely flow through Jeudy and Sutton against a Chiefs defense that has been beatable for wide receivers this season. That should be especially true due to the staggering talent gap between those two and the rest of the Broncos options, especially if rookie tight end Greg Dulcich is unable to play due to his hamstring injury. The Broncos really have nothing to lose at this point, so hoping to beat the Chiefs with a conservative approach seems counterproductive to what their main goal should be in these last two games of turning the page from the boring and disappointing Hackett era.