By the associated press
KANSAS CITY (11-5) to DENVER (7-9)
Saturday, 4:30 p.m. EST, ESPN
LINE: Heads by 10, according to FanDuel SportsBook.
AGAINST SPREAD: Kansas City 8-8; Denver 7-9.
SERIES RECORD: Chiefs lead 68-55.
LAST MEETING: The Chiefs beat the Broncos 22-9 on December 5, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri.
LAST WEEK: Chiefs lost to Bengals 34-31; The Broncos lost to the Chargers 34-13.
CHEF OFFENSE: GENERAL (3), RUSH (16), PASS (2), MARKING (2).
CHIEF DEFENSE: GENERAL (26), RUSH (17), PASS (28), SCORE (13).
BRONCOS BREACH: GENERAL (19), RUSH (14), PASS (19), SCORING (12).
BRONCOS DEFENSE: GENERAL (9), RUSH (15), PASS (6), SCORING (3).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: heads plus-3; Broncos plus-2.
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CHIEF PLAYERS TO WATCH: DT Chris Jones came in his third game with at least two sacks in the last-second loss to Cincinnati last week. If he can put pressure on Drew Lock, that should make things a lot easier for a pass defense that was shredded by Joe Burrow last week.
BRONCOS PLAYERS TO WATCH: S Justin Simmons is one of three players (Quandre Diggs and JC Jackson) with five or more steals in each of the past two seasons. He was snubbed for the Pro Bowl but is finishing his best season.
KEY MATCHUP: Broncos running backs Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams against the Chiefs’ run defense. Williams ran 102 yards against the Chiefs last month when Gordon was out. Gordon ran for 131 yards in his last game against the Chiefs, in 2020. Although the duo have been slowed down by the Raiders and Chargers, Gordon and Williams have combined for 2,170 scrum yards and 16 touchdowns this season.
KEY INJURIES: Chiefs LT Orlando Brown Jr. (calf) are set to return after missing last week’s game against Cincinnati. RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (shoulder) is a long shot to play. Broncos rookie CB Patrick Surtain II, who put both calves to the test last week, is absent. The Broncos also placed quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (concussion), safety Kareem Jackson (shoulder / back) and LG Dalton Risner on IR. K Brandon McManus and P Sam Martin are expected to drop off the reserve / COVID-19 list in time to kick off.
SERIES NOTES: The Chiefs have 12 straight wins over longtime division rivals with their last loss on September 17, 2015. The Broncos have had their moments behind. They kept Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce under 50 combined yards in their last game and an incompleteness that critics have shown could actually have been a fumble and TD’s return could have changed the tenor of that game ago. a month. Prior to the Chiefs’ current streak, Denver had led the series with seven straight wins.
STATS AND THINGS: With a win in Denver and a loss for the Titans in Houston, the Chiefs would secure the AFC’s No.1 seed. … Kansas City’s 12-game winning streak in the series is tied for the league’s eighth longest since the 1970 merger.… Coach Andy Reid is 35-6 against division opponents since 2015 and the Chiefs have won six straight AFC West titles. … Quarterback Patrick Mahomes is 12-0 as a starter in division road games. … TE Travis Kelce needs 109 yards for his fourth straight season of at least 1,200 yards. He needs 28 receiving yards to become the Chiefs’ second player and sixth tight end in NFL history with 9,000 receiving yards. … Kelce and WR Tyreek Hill each have 56 career touchdown catches. They each need two more to pass Otis Taylor (57) for second place in Chiefs history. … Chiefs RB Darrel Williams recorded a career-high 88 rushing yards and 107 scrum yards last week. He also tied a career record with two touchdown points. … Lock makes his third straight start in place of injured starter Bridgewater. … Lock completed 72% of his throws for 245 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers. … Lock is aiming for his fourth straight start without an interception. He tied for the league lead last year with 15 interceptions and 18 total turnovers. … Gordon, who becomes a free agent after the season, is the only NFL player with nine or more touchdowns in each of the past six seasons. Gordon and Ezekiel Elliott of Dallas are the only running backs in the league with over 900 yards of scrimmage in each of the past six seasons. … Rookie RB Javonte Williams posted a career-high 178 yards scrimmage in the teams’ first meeting. He ranks third among rookies with 1,155 scrum yards. … TE Noah Fant led the virus-exhausted Broncos with six catches for 92 yards last week and scored his fourth touchdown of the season.
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