After a record-setting start by first-year starter Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs fans are understandably optimistic about a potential Super Bowl campaign. Through the first three weeks, Mahomes has thrown for 13 touchdowns without a single interception, breaking a record that was held by the Broncos’ Peyton Manning since 2013. Adam Teicher, covering the Chiefs for ESPN’s NFL Nation, told Nate Lundy, Shawn Drotar and T.J. Carpenter on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 that Mahomes’ blazing start can’t last – and that a lack of pressure on Mahomes has been the key to his success – and the Chiefs with him.

While the offense is firing on all cylinders for head coach Andy Reid, Kansas City is ranked last in the league in total defense and passing defense, allowing 474.0 and 362.7 yards per game, respectively — their 92 points allowed is fourth-worst in the league. Teicher pointed out that the weakness of the defense has been offset by the strength of the offense. Cornerback Marcus Peters has left Kansas City for L.A. Starting free safety Daniel Sorenson is on IR. Safety Eric Berry, as well as outside linebackers Dee Ford and Justin Houston, Kansas City’s primary pass rushers, did not practice Thursday. While Teicher said he believes Houston and Ford will play on Monday, the Broncos’ receivers could still expose the Chiefs’ struggling secondary.

“I see some minefields here for the Chiefs in this game,” Teicher said. “When the Broncos have the ball, I think the combination of receivers they have – from Thomas to Sanders to Sutton and all those guys — I think that’s a problem for the Chiefs.” Thomas and Sanders are both among the top 25 in the league in receptions, but they have only a single receiving touchdown each. Quarterback Case Keenum sits just within the top half of the league in passing yards per game, but is tied with several others for the most interceptions so far at five. Those numbers have also been put up against, in part, two top-ten pass defenses in the league, Baltimore and Seattle.

The Broncos have concerns of their own in the secondary following limited practice participation from Adam Jones and no participation from Tramaine Brock. Jones and Brock were added to bolster the Broncos’ secondary after Aqib Talib was traded to L.A., joining former Chief Peters. Teicher says the Denver pass rush could make a difference Monday night if Bradley Chubb and Von Miller can pressure Mahomes. “At some point, there’s going to be a more competitive game… I mean there will be, and this well could be the one. I don’t see a blowout; I don’t see the Chiefs controlling this thing like they have for much of their first three games. I just don’t see it,” Teicher explained.

The Broncos have lost their last five games against the Chiefs, and are 2-1 to start the season following a Week Three loss to Baltimore. If the Denver defense executes and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave finds effective ways to exploit the Kansas City secondary, Monday Night Football’s division rivalry should be a close, competitive game.

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