NFL Game Preview - Broncos v Chiefs

 
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3
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Denver 0 3 0 0 3
Kansas City 6 9 8 0 23
23
10:00 AM PT11:00 AM MT12:00 PM CT1:00 PM ET18:00 GMT2:00 11:00 AM MST1:00 PM EST12:00 PM CT22:00 UAE13:00 ET16:00 , December 15, 2019
Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri  Weather: 24°, Snow  Attendance: 73,257

Broncos-Chiefs Preview

According to STATS
According to STATS

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs

  1. The Chiefs have won eight straight meetings with the Broncos after Denver had won the previous seven games in the series. Only two other matchups have traded 7+ game win streaks back-to-back: Cardinals-Packers from 1937-49 and Bills-Jets from 1984-92.
  2. Denver won in Houston last week, 38-24, snapping a streak of 21 straight games scoring 24 points or fewer. The Broncos scored on each of their first five drives of the game for the first time since December 29, 2013 at Oakland, but they were held scoreless over the final 24 minutes of the game.
  3. Kansas City has won 25 of its last 27 games against the AFC West; the only other team all-time to win 25 of 27 games against its own division was the 1983-88 Bears, who had several such spans during a 37-3 stretch against NFC Central opponents.
  4. Last week, Drew Lock became the first rookie in NFL history to complete at least 80 percent of his passes for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns in a game. Lock had 235 passing yards and three touchdowns in the first half but managed just 74 yards and one interception in the second half.
  5. The Chiefs have won three straight games despite the worst statistical stretch of Patrick Mahomes' young career. Over the last three games, Mahomes has 640 passing yards, three touchdown passes and a 79.6 passer rating, all of which are career lows over any three-game span.
  6. Travis Kelce is just 11 receiving yards shy of becoming the first tight end in NFL history and the first player in Chiefs history to post four straight 1000-yard seasons. Kelce's 80.6 receiving yards per game against the Broncos are the most by any tight end against any opponent all-time (minimum 10 games).
Team Comparison

Denver
 
Kansas City
18.2 Points 28.5
216.8 Pass Yds 301.9
106.9 Rush Yds 93.0
15 Takeaways 20
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Drew Lock grew up about 15 miles from Arrowhead Stadium in suburban Kansas City, and his family has bled the red and gold of the Kansas City Chiefs for just about as long as the young quarterback can remember.

They'll be trading in their usual colors for orange and blue on Sunday.

Lock will attempt to continue his dazzling rookie run when he leads the suddenly hot Denver Broncos into the stadium where he once dreamed of playing. His task? Take down the Chiefs, who are coming off a victory in New England that sealed their fourth consecutive AFC West title.

"You think about it," Lock said, "that's my home. I've been there a thousand times. Nothing new about it."

Except that he'll be the visitor in one of the NFL's hostile environments.

Making it an even more intriguing homecoming, Lock's father Andy played for Chiefs coach Andy Reid when they were both at the University of Missouri. Andy Lock was good enough to warrant some NFL attention before a leg injury near the end of his senior season caused the offensive lineman to go undrafted. He wound up signing with the New York Giants as a free agent, but he never made his mark in the NFL - he wound up becoming a successful restaurateur.

"In his heart he was really a quarterback. I used to joke with him about that," Reid said with a grin.

Well, his kid has turned into a heck of a quarterback.

Drew Lock became the first NFL rookie to throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns in his first road start when he led the Broncos (5-8) to a surprising win over the Texans last weekend. His total of 309 yards was third-best by a rookie in franchise history, giving Denver fans some hope that the organization has at long last found a franchise quarterback.

He's the seventh quarterback to start a game for the Broncos since midway through the 2017 season.

"I don't put ceilings or floors on guys. They can go as high as they want, hopefully not too low," Broncos coach Vic Fangio said. "I think overall he's had a good two-week start to his career."

The trick now is to carry it into their game against the Chiefs (9-4), who have their own superstar quarterback in Patrick Mahomes and a rapidly improving defense that caused Tom Brady and the Patriots all kinds of trouble.

The task facing Lock is daunting: The Broncos have won just three of the 17 games they have played at Arrowhead Stadium in December. John Elway won one of those games in seven tries, and a long list of other quarterbacks have struggled with the raucous crowd and often-ugly weather - snow showers are in the forecast for Sunday with temps in the 20s.

"I think it was good that we got (Lock) his first start at home so when he got his first start on the road it wasn't his overall first start," Fangio said. "We have to go play another really good team this week. He's going to have to deal with the hometown stuff that you guys and they will want to write about. I feel good where he's at."

As the Broncos visit the Chiefs, here are the things to know:

FRANK'S MISFORTUNE

Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark has been dealing with a stomach situation the last couple of weeks that the team thought at first was just a virus. He was well enough to play against the Patriots but it flared up again, so the team sought an expert to figure out what is going on. If he's sidelined down the stretch, it would mean the Chiefs lose their best chance of consistent quarterback pressure at a crucial juncture of the season.

SPEAKING OF THE PASS RUSH

The Chiefs finally showed progress under new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo during a 30-6 rout of Denver in Week 7, when their defense had nine sacks and held the Broncos to just 71 yards rushing. The Broncos need to give Lock more time than they afforded Joe Flacco if they have any hope of moving the ball against Kansas City.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF RUSH

The Chiefs hope to have Damien Williams back from a rib injury this week. He will join a running back corps that has been leaning on veteran LeSean McCoy, rookie Darwin Thompson and journeyman Spencer Ware since losing Darrel Williams to a season-ending injury. None of them have been particularly effective on the ground.

AIRING IT OUT

The biggest bright spot for the Broncos - other than Lock's emergence - has been the play of wide receiver Courtland Sutton, who is 10th in the NFL in yards-per-catch and is closing on 1,000 yards. Sutton has put up those numbers while catching passes from Lock, Flacco and Brandon Allen - not exactly the elite of the elite.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

The Broncos are mathematically still alive in the playoff chase, though realistically they are trying to build some momentum for next season. And while the Chiefs have wrapped up their playoffs spot with a division title, they still harbor hopes of climbing past the Patriots to secure a first-round postseason bye.

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Updated December 12, 2019

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