This Sunday sees a pivotal matchup in the AFC West, as the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs go to Empower Field at Mile High to play their longtime rivals, the Denver Broncos.
Both teams come into the matchup on the backs of wins in Week 6. The Chiefs dispatched of the Buffalo Bills, while the Broncos came out on top in a low-scoring affair against the New England Patriots.
The Chiefs enter this game as huge favorites, but the Las Vegas Raiders have shown the world that KC can be beaten if an offense is brave enough to throw the ball deep downfield. Plus -- as the Patriots discovered last week -- this is still a tough Broncos' defense even without Von Miller at outside linebacker.
If the Broncos defend and QB Drew Lock is on-song and flinging the pigskin deep, there's a chance for them on their home soil. Sure, the Broncos will need huge performances from the likes of Tim Patrick and Jerry Jeudy at receiver, but stranger things have happened, right?
Kansas City Chiefs vs Denver Broncos Head-To-Head
The Chiefs and Broncos' rivalry stretches back to the 1960s, when both teams operated in the American Football League and the Chiefs were known as the Dallas Texans.
At present, the Chiefs are ahead in the all-time series, 65-55.
The last meeting between these two was back in December of 2019. The Chiefs picked up the W then with a straightforward 23-3 victory.
Kansas City Chiefs season results: W W W W L W
Denver Broncos season results: L L L W W
Kansas City Chiefs vs Denver Broncos Team News
The Broncos have some positive injury news coming into the match: Linebacker Bradley Chubb returned to practice on Tuesday, so too did defensive lineman Mike Purcell, which is great news for defensive coordinator Joe Woods. Denver needs its strongest lineup possible come Sunday to stop the NFL's most fearsome offense.
Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III missed the Patriots game officially due to an illness, but it's possible he's being internally disciplined his recent DUI incident. The Broncos have been secretive regarding Gordon's reintegration into the lineup, but he's expected to play.
The return of fan favorite RB Phillip Lindsay against the Patriots will come as some excellent consolation to Denver fans should Gordon be unavailable.
Tight end Noah Fant is also back following a couple of games out with an ankle injury. He is expected to lace up his cleats against the Chiefs, too.
Doubtful for Broncos: Mike Purcell
Out for Broncos: Von Miller (out for season), Courtland Sutton (out for season)
The Chiefs have very few injury concerns coming into this Week 7 matchup.
WR Sammy Watkins is set for an extended spell on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring injury during the fourth quarter of KC's Week 5 loss to the Raiders. Mecole Hardman looks set to fill in for the injured receiver.
Besides that, it's mostly good news for Andy Reid's team this week: OT Chris Fisher and DT Chris Jones took a full part in Wednesday's practice, so too did RB Darrel Williams (though the latter of this trio may find his snap-count limited due to the arrival of superstar RB Le'Veon Bell from the New York Jets last Friday).
Doubtful for Chiefs: Alex Okafor, Mitchell Schwartz
Out for Chiefs: Sammy Watkins
Kansas City Chiefs vs Denver Broncos Projected Starters
Kansas City Chiefs:
QB: Patrick Mahomes
RB: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Le'Veon Bell
WR: Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman/DeMarcus Robinson
TE: Travis Kelce
QB: Drew Lock
RB: Melvin Gordon III, Phillip Lindsay
WR: Tim Patrick, Jerry Jeudy
TE: Noah Fant
Kansas City Chiefs vs Denver Broncos Prediction
Despite the fact they sit at the bottom of the AFC West, many believe that the future looks bright for this current incarnation of the Broncos.
In Tim Patrick and Jerry Jeudy, they have two young receivers who are both capable of turning it on and picking up big yardage downfield. Drew Lock has the talent to go on to big things in the NFL. Noah Fant is one of the game's elite tight ends, and the defense -- even without Von Miller -- is still 5th-best in the NFL when it comes to stopping the pass.
Next year, when Miller and Sutton return to the starting line-up, the Broncos will be a match for anyone.
Unfortunately, it's not next season just yet, and this Chiefs team just has too much firepower for Denver to cope with. Patrick Mahomes and his supporting cast are tied for second in the league in total touchdowns. They are also tied for second in sacks allowed, meaning Mahomes can once again expect to get the time he needs in the pocket to do what he does best: make plays.
Prediction: With Le'Veon Bell now lining up alongside Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the backfield, it's hard to see anyone competing with this supercharged Chiefs' offense. KC should win and win comfortably, 31-16.Published 23 Oct 2020, 05:19 IST