There's a key matchup in the AFC West Sunday as the 2-3 Denver Broncos host the 5-1 Kansas City Chiefs. The division is surprisingly competitive this year as both the Raiders and Broncos are improved. The Chiefs, of course, are the odds-ion favorite to get back to the Super Bowl, but they have not looked particularly overpowering. The Chiefs have absolutely owned the Broncos in recent years, winning 9 straight against them, including two blowouts last year. This year, the Chiefs come in as 9.5 favorites. Is that too many?
Chiefs get it done with ... defense?The Kansas City Chiefs are plodding along at 5-1 and lead the AFC West. They haven't been blowing people out with that high-powered offense -- rather they have been doing just enough to win. While they average 29 points per game, which is 8th in the NFL, a lot of their points have come late to open up a close game. Take Monday's win against the Bills for example. They won 26-17 in Buffalo, but were only up 13-10 at halftime. A second half touchdown, along with a field goal and some good defense was enough to get it done.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire in Week 6:— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) October 19, 2020
AND the Chiefs just signed Le'Veon Bell 👀 pic.twitter.com/MoemaVt9tl
The Chiefs defense has been very impressive. They rank second in the NFL in points allowed, giving up just 17 points per game. They are excellent against the pass, ranking third in the NFL in passing yards allowed, but not so good against the run, giving up 161 yards per game, which ranks 28th in the league. On offense, Patrick Mahomes has been his typical excellent self, but the added threat of rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire has given the Chiefs another dimension. Edwards-Helaire had 161 yards rushing in the Bills win.
Broncos score big win at New EnglandYou can call it the biggest win in the brief coaching career of Broncos coach Vic Fangio. The Broncos knocked off the Patriots last Sunday in Foxboro by the score of 18-12. No, there were no fans in the crowd and no, there was no Tom Brady. And yes, Cam Newton was coming off having COVID-19 the previous week and several players were out with the disease, but considering all that, the Pats were still touchdown favorites.
What really helped the Broncos was the return of some key players from injuries. One was quarterback Drew Lock and the other was running back Phillip Lindsay. Lock didn't look all that great, going just 10 for 24 for 189 yards and two interceptions with no touchdowns. Lindsay, on the other hand, was fantastic with 101 yards rushing on 23 carries. Receiver Tim Patrick had 4 catches for 101 yards. Tight end Noah Fant was out and is questionable this week.
But it was the defense that really put Denver over the top. They held New England to just 288 total yards and had two interceptions and a fumble recovery. They also sacked Newton four times.
Stats & Trends
- Chiefs are 4-11-1 ATS in their last 16 games after allowing less than 150 yards passing in their previous game.
- Broncos are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. AFC.
- Broncos are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games in October.
- Broncos are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- Broncos are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as an underdog.
- Broncos are 13-6 ATS in their last 19 games as a home underdog.
Take the Broncos here getting the points. This may be going out on a limb a bit, but I think 9.5 points is too much to give the Broncos. Denver has some wind in their sails from beating New England and Kansas City is coming off a short week, having played Monday in Buffalo. They stay on the road here in Denver and may find themselves going through the motions until they really need to turn it on and win. They have done this all season, kind of playing down to their opponent until they have to step it up. Denver should be able to run the ball with Lindsay and their defense has been solid. The Chiefs will definitely win, but I'm thinking maybe a late garbage touchdown by Denver will allow them to cover.