Game Overview ::
By mike johnson >>
- This is a rematch of an ugly 19-8 Chiefs victory from just two weeks ago.
- Kansas City currently has the largest lead in their division of any team in the NFL.
- The Chiefs offense finally came alive in Week 7 with a vintage Patrick Mahomes performance that included over 300 yards of passing in the first half.
- The Broncos offense appears to be heading in the wrong direction after a somewhat promising start to the season.
- The Kansas City defense has taken on a new, much more physical, identity this year and is a top 5 unit for the first time in the Patrick Mahomes era.
How kansas city Will Try To Win ::
My general rule of thumb for evaluating “short-week” games in the NFL in terms of how predictive they may be is: the shorter amount of prep time generally is going to favor the teams/units that are more physically talented while being a disadvantage to teams that rely more on their scheme and game planning to beat their opponents. I bring this up because we have a recent game between these two teams where the Chiefs offense struggled and was held to one touchdown for the first time all year by a previously struggling Broncos defense. If we look back a couple of weeks prior to that, the Broncos were completely overwhelmed by the speed and scheme of the Dolphins in their record-breaking 70-point performance. The Chiefs offense is primarily driven by the brilliance of Patrick Mahomes and the outstanding scheme and play-calling of Andy Reid. Their receiving corps is average at best and does not have elite physical skills, while their running game is also adequate but certainly not full of guys who jump off the page athletically. Obviously, Travis Kelce is a unicorn, and he had himself a game against the Broncos, but other than that, the Chiefs offense was not overly impressive. This week the Chiefs have a normal week of preparation and will have a fresh idea of what the Denver defense will present to them. I fully expect a much more cohesive Chiefs offense that builds off of last week’s “breakout” game against the Chargers.
As we have discussed in this space in past weeks, the Chiefs offense focuses primarily on their running backs and tight ends. Complicating things even more, they have about six wide receivers in the mix for playing time. Second round rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice seems to be emerging as the #2 target in the passing game, behind only Kelce, while Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore are next in line in terms of playing time. Kadarius Toney and Mecole Hardman play sparingly but are involved in schemed looks, while Justin Watson is on pace to return from a one-week injury absence and should cloud things up even more. Outside of Rice, the rest of the roles appear hard to count on for weekly production. The Chiefs once again lead the NFL in pass rate over expectation (PROE), have an all-time great QB, and face the league’s 32nd ranked DVOA pass defense. It should be very clear how they will look to attack Denver in this game, especially with the context we discussed regarding the first matchup between these teams. Even with the relative “success” that the Broncos defense managed in that first game, a big part of that had to do with Kansas City struggles in the red zone, as they settled for two short field goals and Mahomes threw an interception inside the Denver 20 in the first quarter. Once again, the Chiefs are a creative team near the goal line, and on a short week they struggled to punch the ball in. I don’t expect a repeat of that this week. We should expect a vintage Chiefs game plan and performance in this game as they look to ice the Broncos early and get out of here in one piece ahead of next week’s massive matchup with the Dolphins.