The Kansas City Chiefs look to break a two-game losing streak when they travel to face their AFC West rivals, the Denver Broncos, on Thursday Night Football. Kansas City started the season 4-0 before falling to Indianapolis and Houston in its last two contests, while the Broncos, who began 0-4, come into the contest on a two-game winning streak.
Denver has lost seven straight to the Chiefs, including two close games a season ago, as Kansas City won by four in Denver and by seven at home. The Chiefs’ current win streak against the Broncos began in 2015, which ended a seven-game Denver winning streak in the series.
The moneyline for this contest has the Kansas City Chiefs -155 and the Denver Broncos +135. Kansas City is a three-point favorite on the road, while the over/under has been set at 49.
Needing To Bounce Back
The Chiefs’ offense hasn’t been bad in the last couple of weeks, but they haven’t been putting as many points on the board either. After averaging 33.8 points during its four-game winning streak to start the season, Kansas City has scored a total of 37 points in its last two contests. Patrick Mahomes is obviously the key to the Chiefs’ offensive success, having passed for 2,104 yards and 14 touchdowns already this season. Getting Tyreek Hill back on the field last week was a big help, as he had two touchdown catches in the loss to Houston, but the Chiefs need to have some balance to slow down the Broncos’ pass rush.
Defensively, the Chiefs must be better against the run, especially with the Broncos wanting to run the ball and control the clock to keep the Kansas City offense off the field. The Chiefs have allowed 190 rushing yards a game and 4.97 yards per carry this season, allowing a 100-yard rusher in four consecutive weeks. Linebacker Damien Wilson, who has a team-high 41 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss, must lead the defensive front for Kansas City.
Playing It Cool
Denver is not interested in an exciting shootout for the primetime television audience on Thursday. The Broncos would rather grind it out with their ground game and an occasional pass or two by quarterback Joe Flacco. The veteran signal-caller has thrown for 1,435 yards and six touchdowns this season, but that’s mainly been when the Broncos have been trailing late in games. The running back combination of Phillip Lindsay (397 yards, four touchdowns) and Royce Freeman (284 yards) allows Denver to keep the ball on the ground.
Usually, Von Miller is the first name that is brought up when talking about the Denver defense, but he’s not even the team’s sack leader so far this season. Even with linebacker Bradley Chubb out for the season, Miller hasn’t made as many plays as he usually does, recording 2.5 sacks through six games. Defensive end DeMarcus Walker leads the way with three sacks for the Broncos, but it will be all hands on deck for trying to get to Mahomes and stopping him from picking apart the Denver secondary.
Chiefs Snap Streak
Kansas City is certainly one of the top teams in football despite its two-game losing streak, but the Chiefs want their record to reflect that as well. Mahomes has had a pair of big games at Denver in his career — including last year’s incredible left-handed pass on Monday Night Football — and I see him doing it again to quiet some of the critics. I like Kansas City -3 to get the victory on Thursday.