As the Broncos continue to hand out frequent flier miles to all opposing offenses, it may be time for them to consider a new promotion with the hottest offense in football coming to town for a primetime, Monday night showdown in the Mile High. The loss of Aqib Talib and the decline of play by Bradley Roby has caused quite a bit of dysfunction in the Broncos secondary. Currently, the Broncos are allowing opposing quarterbacks to post a whopping 102.2 quarterback rating. That’s good for the 9th worse in the league. Opposing quarterbacks have also completed 69.5 percent of their pass attempts, and Denver has only been able to intercept opposing quarterbacks twice. Last week in Baltimore, the Ravens had their way with the Broncos pass defense as well, as QB Joe Flacco completed more than 62% of his pass attempts. The week before, Derek Carr carved them to the tune of a 90% completion percentage and 288 yards. Amazingly, the Broncos, for the most part, have played bend but don’t break defense. Opponents have only score 5 touchdowns against the Denver defense in the first 3 contests of the year. The run defense has been a bright spot for Denver, as they are currently ranked 3rd in the NFL, holding opposing ball carriers to 77.7 yards per game.
On offense, it hasn’t looked much different than it did a year ago. Slow starts and costly turnovers have made the Broncos play from behind for the majority of the 2018 campaign. It took 4th quarter comebacks in Weeks 1 and 2 at home, but the Broncos could not overcome the early deficit that they faced last week in a soggy, penalty riddled game against Baltimore. Case Keenum was hoped to bring a spark back to the Denver offense that we haven’t seen since Peyton Manning. Instead, his productivity has looked much more like Brock Oswelier and Trevor Siemian from last year. Keenum’s 743 passing yards is good for 25th in the league. His average of 247.7 yards per game puts him at #21. He owns a 3-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio, and has been afraid to stretch the field, averaging just 6.9 yards per attempt. His quarterback rating of 71.6 is 27 points lower than it was last year and he is only 2 interceptions shy of meeting the mark he set all of last season. If Denver is going to get back to its winning ways, it starts with the offense. The Broncos must find a way to take the lead quick and force opponents into a one-dimensional pass attack. This is where the Denver defense will excel.
The visiting Chiefs are no joke. Andy Reid knows how to run an offense and Patrick Mahomes looks like he is in his 10th year in the league. He is setting records every week, and will come into Denver with the opportunity to take an early 2 game lead in the division. Tyreek Hill, Kareem Hunt and Travis Kelce round out this super potent offense. The Kansas City defense is horrible at best, so the Broncos should be able to keep up with Mahomes and turn this into a shootout. Containing Mahomes and making sure he stays in the pocket will be very important in Denver having success on the defensive side of the ball. If Denver can get some pressure on Mahomes and disrupt his timing and ability to extend plays, the Broncos should be able to force the youngster to make some ill-advised throws. It will be up to Denver to capitalize on those mistakes.
In order for the Broncos to even things up with the Chiefs atop the AFC West division, the Broncos will have to play flawless football in all three phases of the game. Turnovers and penalties will cause this game to get out of hand quick. We must control the tempo of the game, control the line of scrimmage by running the football, and control field position by capitalizing on 3rd down. Keenum needs to show Broncos Country why Elway hand picked him to lead us back to the promise land. After tonight, we will either be a legitimate contender for the AFC West crown, or we will be right back to where we were last year, wondering if Chad Kelly is the saviour that this team needs.
Final Score Prediction
This one is going to be a nailbiter. This could be back and forth all night long, and the team that comes out on top will be the team that makes a huge play late in the 4th quarter. If Denver is going to win, I think they will have to do it in the same manner that they got their first two wins at home. From behind. Denver wins.
Kansas City Chiefs – 26
Denver Broncos – 27
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