Kansas City Chiefs starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes is just four starts into his career, yet on Monday night, he will make his second start in Denver against the Broncos. That’s because the Chiefs started Mahomes over Alex Smith Week 17 last season with their playoff position locked up.
The Chiefs rested most of their starters but still managed to win the game, 27-24.
To paint a clearer picture, let’s take a look at that lineup from last year:
WR Jehu Chesson, LT Cam Erving, LG Bryan Wtizmann, C Jordan Devey, RG Parker Ehinger, RT Mitch Schwartz, TE Demetrius Harris, WR Demarucs Robinson, RB Kareem Hunt, and FB Anthony Sherman
And let’s compare that to the projected starting lineup for Monday night:
WR Tyreek Hill, LT Eric Fisher, LG Cam Erving, C Mitch Morse, RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, RT Mitch Schwartz, TE Travis Kelce, WR Sammy Watkins, WR Chris Conley, RB Kareem Hunt
Mahomes was asked about how last year’s game compares to Monday night during his weekly presser on Thursday.
“Last year, it was the last week of the season so we didn’t want to show every single play going into the playoffs,” he said. “There’s definitely going to be a little bit more added to the playbook but at the same time, we have so many weapons that we can run our base stuff and still make plays happen. I’m just going to try to go in, just like I’ve done so far this season, is run what we’re supposed to run the right way and get it to those guys and let them make plays.”
Mahomes played against Denver’s defensive starters for most of the game and with backups, built a 14-point lead only to be blown by now-Chicago Bear Tyler Bray. Mahomes then reentered the game and led the Chiefs down the field for a game-winning drive capped off by a 30-yard field goal courtesy of Harrison Butker.
If Mahomes was able to beat the Broncos with reserve players, a partial game plan and Bray giving up the lead, what will he be able to accomplish on Monday night with starters and a full game plan and playing time to work with?
It should be fun to watch.