It’s a battle in the AFC West as Kansas City (4-2) heads to Denver (2-4) for a Thursday night showdown. The Chiefs lead the all-time series 63-55 including a string of seven in a row that dates back to November of 2015. That date was a 31-24 win at Mile High. The last three matchups between these two teams were decided by seven points or less.
Kansas City started the season 4-0 but has suffered back to back home losses, 19-13 against the Colts and 31-24 against the Texans. Patrick Mahomes leads the NFL with 2,104 yards, but he can’t put the team on his back every week. He threw for 273 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception in last week’s losing effort. Good news for the Chiefs is that wide receiver, playmaker, Tyreek Hill is back from injury. Hill had five catches for 80 yards and two scores vs. the Texans. KC needs to improve its running game, which only produced 53 yards. Can the Chiefs offense, ranked third overall in the NFL and first in the passing game, put up points against the Broncos’ defense that has been improving over the last two weeks?
The Chiefs’ defense wasn’t able to sack Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, but they did create three turnovers in the game. Watson threw for 280 yards and one touchdown while rushing for 42 yards and two more scores. Carlos Hyde added 116 yards on the ground and one touchdown. That steady rushing attack combined with converting on two of three fourth-down possessions allowed Houston to have the ball for nearly 40 minutes of the game. Tyrann Mathieu lead the Chiefs with ten tackles. Cornerback Charvarius Ward and rookie safety Juan Thornhill each picked up an interception in the game.
2019 didn’t kick off on a high note for the Denver Broncos, who lost their first four games of the season. However, in the last two, they have swung the momentum in a different direction after a 20-13 win over the Chargers on the road and 16-0 victory against the Titans at home. Versus the Titans, Joe Flacco threw for 177 yards and one interception, but Phillip Lindsay and Courtland Sutton stepped up. Lindsay had 15 carries for 70 yards and one touchdown while Sutton had four catches for 76 yards. Denver tallied just 270 yards of total offense and were two of 14 on third down. Both those stats will have to drastically improve if they want to keep pace with the Chiefs.
The defense may not have won Denver a championship, but it sure won them the game against Tennessee. Despite a depleted secondary, they were still able to pick up seven interceptions as well as three sacks and hold the Titans to just 204 yards of total offense. While Denver wasn’t successful offensively on third down, their defense picked up the slack by holding the Titans’ offense to just two conversions on 14 attempts. A.J. Johnson led the way with nine tackles and one and a half sacks while Justin Simmons and Chris Harris Jr. each had four tackles and one interception. Defensive end Derek Wolfe was in Mariota’s face all game and picked up three tackles along with two sacks.
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