It is hard to believe that the NFL season has just three weeks remaining, but that means, every last game is critically important as teams jockey for playoff position.
Such is the case Sunday afternoon when the AFC West is on display as the (9-4) Kansas City Chiefs look to get in position for the #2 seed and a first-round bye against their rival (5-8) Denver Broncos (1pm ET Sunday on CBS).
The Chiefs, at 9-4, have found themselves in a great position. Not only did the team already clinch the AFC West, but now, they sit just one game back of the New England Patriots for the second seed and the first-round bye that comes with it, in the postseason. Just last week, the Chiefs even defeated their main playoff rival of the past several years in the Patriots. It would seem that, against predictions, the Patriots are falling off. However the Chiefs, with a healthy Patrick Mahomes back under center, are surging just at the right time.
Kansas City opened their season 4-2, which for many teams would be a great six-game stretch. For the Chiefs, it suggested a period of struggle as the team suffered an uncharacteristic loss to the Indianapolis Colts and failed to overcome the Houston Texans. In fact, from weeks 6-10, the Chiefs lost half of their games, starting with the loss to the Texans and followed by a loss to the Green Bay Packers two weeks later and the Tennessee Titans two weeks after that.
This gave Kansas City four losses through week 10, a mark that matched their 16-game loss total from last season. So while no one would say a 9-4 record through 13 games is bad by any means, it’s probably not quite what Kansas City had hoped for at the start of the season.
When it comes to hopes and expectations, the Broncos’ season has certainly failed to meet the goals the team had at the start of the year. This past spring, the Broncos traded for former longtime Baltimore Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco. While Flacco isn’t the same QB he used to be, it was still a step up for Denver, who has been struggling to find a signal caller ever since Peyton Manning retired in 2016.
The last three years have been a series of trial by error for the Broncos as they have looked to replace Manning. It seemed they may have finally found a more permanent starter in Flacco but he struggled in his first year with Denver. In nine games started, he threw for just 1,822 yards, 30th worst in the NFL. He had just six passing touchdowns, which was 33rd worst. Needless to say, those were not the kind of numbers Flacco or the Broncos would have hoped for.
The Broncos, in the inverse of the Chiefs who opened their season 4-0, started 0-4, with losses to the Oakland Raiders, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars. Those losses effectively ended the Broncos’ season as even though they were not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, their journey to get there would be increasingly difficult. Very few NFL teams make the postseason after starting 0-4. The Broncos won their next two, but have gone 3-4 over their last seven. It is worth noting however, that behind Drew Lock, Flacco’s second replacement following two starts by Brandon Allen, Denver has won their last two games including a bit of a statement win against the Houston Texans.
Prior to Sunday’s Broncos/Chiefs game, Denver wide receiver Courtland Sutton made a bold statement. Maybe not this year, maybe not next, but at some point the Broncos are going to be back in the conversation and that starts with a win on Sunday at Kansas City. It was a bold statement indeed for a team that hasn’t beaten the Chiefs in their last eight attempts, but a necessary one.
If the Broncos hope to make the playoffs, a chance they still have hanging by the slimmest of margins, they’ll have to win out and get some help along the way. But for Sutton and the rest of his Broncos teammates, this is about more than just making the playoffs in 2019, it is about building a team that going forward can once again compete for the AFC West title.
Our Betting Preview’s Denver Broncos vs Kansas City Chiefs Predictions & Picks Verdict
The Broncos are being overlooked big time in this one, but perhaps rightly so. As mentioned early in this preview, the Chiefs are 8-0 in their last eight against the Broncos and most of these games weren’t particular close. Over the past few years, Kansas City has dominated their divisional rival in a major way, especially at home. Arrowhead Stadium, on record as the loudest sporting stadium in the country, is one of the toughest places for opposing teams to play. So our Denver Broncos vs Kansas City Chiefs predictions for this preview are:
- Take the Chiefs -10pts, who look very much like a well-oiled machine, to cover that point spread in this NFL matchup @ best odds of -101 with Bookmaker. The other option you might prefer is and extra half point to play with ie: -9.5pts @ -115 with Intertops.
- The next of our Broncos at Chiefs picks against the US offshore oddsmakers is for the total points. Go over on 44.5pts @ -110 with Intertops, Bookmaker or BetOnline.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.