All eyes will be on Drew Lock Sunday, against the Chiefs, in the third game of his career.
Pulling off the upset victory would give the Broncos their longest winning streak of the season, their first victory against Patrick Mahomes ever and their first win over the Chiefs since September of 2015.
Can they pull it off? Here’s what our panel of experts thinks.
What is the key to this game?
Ronnie Kohrt (@RonnieKRadio): Turnovers. If Denver is to beat a high-powered offense on the road in a tough environment, they will need to force turnovers and they will have to avoid them on offense.
Rich Kurtzman (@RichKurtzman): The key is two-fold: Put consistent pressure on Patrick Mahomes and protect the ball on offense. The Broncos need to not only force Mahomes to move and pass more quickly than he’d like, but they need to rack up multiple sacks on him as well. Offensively, the Broncos need big plays but also have to limit turnovers, zero would be best.
Aniello Piro (@MediaByAP): The key to this game will be Drew Lock‘s ability to stand toe-to-toe with the Chiefs high powered offense. Denver’s offense will need to put up similar numbers as they did versus the Texans last week if they want to have a chance in Arrowhead.
Alex Becker (@A_Beck9): The key to this game is keeping Mahomes in check. A low-scoring affair plays more into the hands of the Broncos, so keeping Mahomes and the Chiefs offense under control should be the primary focus.
Zach Segars(@Zach_Segars): The key to this game for the Broncos will be getting their running game going. The Broncos are 1-3 when rushing for fewer than 90 yards and in their first matchup with the Chiefs, they put up a measly 71 yards. The Chiefs’ pass defense is an underrated unit, and to hang with Mahomes and Kansas City’s offense the Broncos will have to run the ball.
What should the Broncos expect from Drew Lock?
Ronnie Kohrt: Another week of improvement. Execute the offense. Understand signals, calls, adjustments at the line and do it in a loud and hostile Arrowhead Stadium. Get used to the environment, because as Denver’s franchise quarterback, you get to experience this for the next ten years.
Rich Kurtzman: They should expect the unexpected. That means, he’s still a rookie and could turn the ball over a ton of times, or he could continue to just have fun and sling the pigskin while thrashing KC’s defense. The coaches need to adjust to what’s happening with Lock on the fly.
Aniello Piro: I think Denver should expect another big week from the rookie. He’s from the KC area and grew up around the Chiefs organization. Lock seems to be built for the NFL mentally, so I feel it’s fair to expect a big game from him.
Alex Becker: The Broncos should expect Lock to be more of a game manager this week. The Chiefs defense is playing impressive football, so Lock should be expected to not turn the ball over and hit on all his short and medium routes.
Zach Segars: The Broncos should expect a mixed bag from the rookie. Kansas City’s pass defense ranks sixth in DVOA and will easily be the toughest squad Lock will see through this five-game stretch. There’ll be the wow plays, but also the mistakes you’d expect from a rookie playing against a good pass defense.
Which Bronco gets the game ball?
Ronnie Kohrt: If Denver was to steal a win, they’re going to need a ton of points. So in turn, I’ll go with Drew Lock.
Rich Kurtzman: Von Miller for two sacks and a strip-sack.
Aniello Piro: Von Miller will get the game ball. Between his comments about not beating KC in a long time and having a lackluster season himself, this will be the game where Miller breakout. Keep an eye on No. 58 come Sunday.
Alex Becker: Justin Simmons. He will be a ball-hawk in the secondary all day and disrupt Kansas City’s explosive receivers.
Zach Segars: Phillip Lindsay. Like I said, the Broncos will have to pound the rock in order to win this game. It’s both the most effective way to attack the Chiefs’ defense and it keeps Mahomes on the sidelines.
What will the final score be?
Ronnie Kohrt: I think it’s a very close game and Denver runs with Kansas City until the end, but a costly mistake or misfire dooms them on the road. 24-20 Chiefs.
Rich Kurtzman: Denver puts up a good fight in the first half but are outclassed in the second half to lose. Broncos lose 35-20.
Aniello Piro: Denver will keep things close, but the Chiefs will win this one in the end given their playoff aspirations. Chiefs 30-27.
Alex Becker: The Broncos somehow pulls off a win in a hostile environment and the hometown kid improves to 3-0 in his rookie season. 27-25 Broncos.
Zach Segars: I’m a Drew Lock believer now, but this game will be the worst of his five starts. Plus, the Broncos defense will have its toughest task of that stretch. 34-27 Chiefs.