Previewing the Denver Broncos grand finale against the Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) rolls out in the second half of the NFL game on Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Cincinnati Bengals defeated Kansas City Chiefs 34-31. Cincinnati Bengals And The Kansas City Chiefs 468

Week 18’s matchup is between one team with nothing on the line and the other with a lot on the line.

After last week’s blowout loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, the 7-9 Denver Broncos locked in their 6th straight losing season. Their opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs, are looking to lock in as the AFC’s No. 1 seed and guarantee themselves a first-round bye and home-field advantage. 

These two teams previously faced off in Week 13 when the Chiefs came away with a dominant 28-13 win. This week, the Broncos confirmed that Teddy Bridgewater had been added to the IR; the Chiefs will face Drew Lock this time. 

With COVID-19 cases on the rise, there is so much unpredictability about tomorrow’s game, and who may or may not play.

Denver goes into Sunday’s game as 11 point underdogs

Here’s what the Broncos can expect to face from the Chiefs in Week 18.

Chiefs on Offense

The Chargers are currently the third-best overall offense and will face the Broncos’ eighth-best defense.

Patrick Mahomes previously had one of his worst games in 2021 against Denver. They held him to only 184 yards and 0 passing touchdowns, and they also intercepted him once. 

The good news for the Chiefs, especially Tyreek Hill, who only had 22 yards in Week 13, is that Patrick Surtain has already been ruled out with a calf injury this week. Kareem Jackson and Ronald Darby have also been ruled out, which leaves a gaping hole in the Broncos secondary. Depending on the score, Mahomes may get pulled out early to help stay injury-free for the playoffs. 

Kansas City’s red zone offense scores a touchdown 60.94 percent of the time. On the flip side, Denver has only allowed teams to score 50 percent of the time. However, if last week is any indication, with the number of starters the Broncos will be missing again, those numbers will skew on Saturday.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire missed last week with a shoulder injury he received in Week 16. The Chiefs have already ruled him out for Saturday. His backup, Darrel Williams, has put together an impressive season and is on track to pass 1,000 total scrimmage yards. The Broncos did manage to hold Austin Ekeler to only 58 rushing yards last week, even with Bradley Chubb out. With Chubb’s return, that’ll be a big boost for their run defense.

Chiefs on Defense

The Chiefs’ defense sits at No. 26, while the Broncos’ offense sits at No. 19. 

The Broncos offensive line will see the return of Bobbie Massie, who was out last week with COVID-19, replacing Cam Fleming. While this may be a massive upgrade, Dalton Risner was added to IR this week due to an elbow injury he suffered last week.

Drew Lock, who previously was prone to turnovers, has gone without any in the past two weeks. Unfortunately, their offense hasn’t been able to capitalize on it. The Chargers stacked the box last week, which prevented the run game from gaining any momentum. Mix that with the number of drops the Broncos had, and it’s a recipe for disaster. 

Lock should look out for Chris Jones, who currently has nine sacks on the season. He has a 1.25 million dollar bonus coming his way if he hits double digits.  

Also coming off of the COVID-19 list are Tim Patrick and Jerry Jeudy. Shockingly, Jeudy has yet to have a touchdown this season. Lock and Jeudy clearly have a stronger connection than Jeudy has with Bridgewater. Tyrann Mathieu, who leads the Chiefs’ team in interceptions with three, will look to make sure that doesn’t happen.

When these teams previously faced off, Javonte Williams ran for 104 yards and caught 76 and a touchdown. However, last week’s pitiful performance against a Chargers’ run defense landing near the bottom of the league makes it hard to get excited about this matchup. 

Score Prediction: Chiefs 27, Broncos 17

SHARE