As the NFL season moves into October, a huge divisional matchup is the first thing to greet fans on the new month’s calendar. The (2-1) Denver Broncos welcome the (3-0) undefeated Kansas City Chiefs to Mile High Stadium in a game today that has very real implications on the AFC West (8:15 PM ET Monday).
The Kansas City Chiefs are a very good football team and they have been a good team for several years now. This is especially true for the team’s early season performances. To put that in perspective, this is not the first or even the second year that the Chiefs have had a 3-plus game winning streak to start the season.
Last year, Kansas City won five games in a row to open their year. In 2013, they won the first nine. 2010 also saw the Chiefs open with a three-game winning streak. Stringing together a bunch of consecutive victories is never a bad thing but for the Chiefs, the problem is they haven’t been able to make their long winning streaks manifest into something more important: playoff success.
Playoffs are a long ways away right now and of course, as many wins as the team can get, the better. Their season this year has seen the Chiefs play at their regular season best. In week one, the team went on the road to open the year and defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 38-28. Still on the road, Kansas City took down the Pittsburgh Steelers in week two, by a 42-37 score. In week three, the first at Arrowhead in the 2018 season, the Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 38-27.
The Chiefs have yet to have a 100-yard rusher over those first three games meaning, undoubtedly the reason for their early success in 2018 is second year sensation, Patrick Mahomes. Drafted 10th overall by the Chiefs in 2017, the 23-year-old is having the best season of any QB in the NFL. In just three games, Mahomes already has 13 touchdowns, which is an average of over four per game. He also has no interceptions, has tossed for 896 yards and has a passer rating on the season of 137.4. All of those lead the NFL, except for yards but those leading him have already played four games compared to Mahomes’ three.
Mahomes has been an absolute stud this year, there is no doubt about that. He had his best game in week two, where he tossed six touchdowns and 326 yards during a gunslinging battle against Ben Roethlisberger, one of the best slingers in the game. Most impressively, Mahomes completed passes to seven different receivers, five of whom caught touchdowns. Because as good as Mahomes has been, he has made his receivers look equally as good. Tight end Travis Kelce has 16 receptions for 229 yards and two touchdowns, Sammy Watkins has caught 14 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown and Tyreek Hill ranks top 10 among receivers in touchdowns (3) and yards per game (103.3). This is one of the NFL’s top-passing offenses and against a Broncos team that is no longer as elite in their secondary, Mahomes could have another great game to take the Chiefs to 4-0 on the season.
Denver is Pretty Good, but are they Good Enough?
The Broncos are having a good year as well record-wise, even if their victories have come through the skin of their teeth. Denver’s two wins against the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders have been by a combined four points.
They say good teams know how to get it done no matter what and so far this season, the Broncos have come through in these close contests. Part of the reason is because of their own offense, which while not tops in the league, is pretty good. Denver ranks tied for 12th in the NFL in total yards, with their bread-and-butter coming in the running game. Against Seattle, a game the Broncos won by three points, their rookie running back tandem of Philip Lindsay and Royce Freeman combined for 142 yards. Against Oakland, Lindsay added 111 yards from scrimmage, making him the first undrafted player in NFL history to have 100-plus yards from scrimmage in each of his first two games. Overall, Lindsay has rushed for 198 yards on the year and Freeman has rushed for 152.
Denver’s reliance on its backs is something the team is fortunate to have and one of the reasons why the Broncos are optimistic about being able to get back to the top of the AFC West. The other reason is Case Keenum, who is in his first year with the team after previously leading the Minnesota Vikings to the NFC Championship game in 2017. Emmanuel Sanders has been the top guy for Denver’s offense, totaling over 90 yards in two of the team’s first three games.
So, the Broncos are good, but are they good enough? The answer is yes. One of the biggest assets the team will have tonight, in addition to being home at Mile High, is the fact that Kansas City’s passing defense is almost non-existent. For as good as the team is at throwing the ball, they are equally inept at preventing other offenses from doing the same thing. The Chiefs pass defense has allowed an average of 362.7 yards per game this season. Keenum, Sanders and Demaryius Thomas will look to feast on this in Denver, where balls fly given the high altitude.
Our Preview’s Kansas City Chiefs vs Denver Broncos Picks & Betting Predictions Verdict
So coming to our Kansas City Chiefs vs Denver Broncos predictions for this preview, we have a couple of betting picks we like the look of:
- The Chiefs lead the NFL in points per game with 39.3. They also lead the NFL in points per game allowed with 30.7. Ladies and gentlemen, this is going to be an offensive showcase unlike perhaps any we’ve seen so far this season. That’s saying something because there have been some high-scoring games. If that first comment didn’t make it obvious, take the over 54pts @ -118 with BetOnline. If those odds look a little short, it is because all the other US sports betting companies have the under / over set at higher than 54 total points to be scored (54.5pts or 55pts), so this pick is the best option in our view.
- As for the spread, Kansas City are 3.5 to 4.5 point road favorites. That’s a tough one to figure out as it’s a little higher than Denver’s games have tended to go as far as the point discrepancy. That being said, our prediction is for the Broncos to get the win at home. Bet on Denver +4.5pts @ -120 with Bovada. The other bookies are at +3.5pts.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & 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.