As the Kansas City Chiefs prepared for their 23-16 victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday, all but one of the Arrowhead Pride staff predicted a victory. Our readers were a little less optimistic. 77% predicted a victoty, but 72% thought the game would be close no matter which team won.
So what do the staff (and the readers) think about the Week 15 game against the Denver Broncos?
Tom Childs (@tomchilds56)
I’m going to admit it: I quite like the young talent the Broncos have on offense. For once, I think Elway may have done quite well acquiring offensive pieces to build around in the draft. Of all of the AFC West teams, I expect Denver to be the next challenger to the Chiefs’ supremacy. In December, teams with nothing to play for can often be dangerous (and more adventurous) than usual, so I expect the Broncos to be a little more frisky. Will it be enough? Probably not. The Chiefs are a much better team right now — and it will show in the first three quarters. Chiefs 27, Broncos 20
John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)
The Chiefs should be able to take care of their own business on Sunday, notching the first of three wins they need for a chance for a bye week. But I’m not expecting a blowout. With another loss, the Broncos face playoff elimination — and with Drew Lock under center, they might have reason to hope. I’m expecting Denver’s best effort. I just don’t think it will be enough. Chiefs 34, Broncos 27
Ethan Douglas (@ChiefsAnalytics)
It’s December. Fans have likely had this game circled on the calendar since the schedule came out. The Chiefs host the vaunted Denver Broncos, with the outcome likely deciding who goes on to win the division title. Except it’s not 2013 anymore. The Chiefs have won eight straight against the Broncos, have clinched their division, have the better quarterback, the better offensive weapons and even the better pass defense. Drew Lock may be the Broncos’ shiny new toy — and he very well may be a solid quarterback — but this won’t be the game that proves that. The Chiefs will dial up pressure early and often, the offense will have cleaned up some mishaps, coach Andy Reid will go for it in a pivotal fourth-and-short and the team will add another game to their list of Broncos shutouts. Chiefs 27, Broncos 14
Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)
It’s hard not to feel good about the Chiefs at this point. Yes... their offense could be doing better, but there should still be confidence that the unit can turn it on. I do think Denver will come out motivated to play a tough game, but this team isn’t losing to a rookie quarterback in his first start at Arrowhead. I think the defense has a few difference-making plays and the Chiefs sweep Denver for the fourth-straight season. Chiefs 31, Broncos 20
Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina)
The Broncos are coming into this game hungry and ready to “put one over on the Chiefs.” They might finally have a little bit of a good thing working; a potential Chiefs letdown after winning the division looms. Unfortunately for the Broncos, when they have the ball they will have a rookie quarterback going up against Steve Spagnuolo, who has been calling magnificent games lately. With the Broncos’ missing half of their already-poor offensive line, the Chiefs should have another high-sack performance. When the Chiefs have the ball, the focus should be on returning to the first-half offense we saw against New England, with extra pre-snap motion and an even blend of short, intermediate and deep shots. The Chiefs offense is running out of time to put it all together, so a familiar opponent could help kickstart the unit. With the Chiefs’ overall talent and the way their defense is playing — as we thought we’d say six months ago —this will prove to be too much for the Broncos. Chiefs 27, Broncos 13
Robert Rimpson (@RRimpsanity)
The Chiefs secondary will be tested on Sunday. Drew Lock and the Broncos always have a running threat in Phillip Lindsay, but the majority of their success has come from throwing the ball — especially in their game against Houston. Lock is willing to take chances deep to allow his receivers to make plays — something Denver wasn’t willing to do the last time they faced the Chiefs. In order to win, the Chiefs offense must capitalize on the few turnovers the defense gets them — and must keep their own turnovers to a minimum. If the Chiefs can win the turnover battle — and Mahomes’ hand is significantly better— I think the Chiefs win comfortably. Chiefs 33, Broncos 20
Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)
These next couple of games may not seem that important. In all likelihood, the Chiefs will be the number three seed — and the division title is already theirs. The Chiefs are also coming off a monster win in New England, so a letdown would be perfectly reasonable to expect. But I’d argue that the Chiefs need these games as a tune up for the postseason. They need to get the offense firing on all cylinders — and have the defense continue to grow in confidence and consistency. Limping to the finish would be very frustrating. Especially at this point, the Broncos are a tricky matchup. They are an inferior team with no playoff aspirations left. They are a division rival, so they are familiar and full of contempt. They have a young quarterback finally getting his chance — and he is playing well. It’s not a given that the Chiefs will dominate on Sunday, but it’d be a great sign if they do! I’ll assume a closer game — but hope I’m wrong. Chiefs 23, Broncos 17
Craig Stout (@barleyhop)
The Chiefs are the better team, but the Denver offense has found its groove under Drew Lock. The Broncos will throw everything they can at the Chiefs to slow them down — which could work in the early going. But in the second half, Steve Spagnuolo will dial up the pressure and throw in more exotic coverage looks to force some mistakes as the Chiefs just keep building their lead. Garbage time points will make it look closer than it was. Chiefs 35, Broncos 20
Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson)
I’d gladly donate my hand to Patrick Mahomes, but it has arthritis. It might make the situation worse. The Chiefs offense probably won’t be working at full capacity, but the last time these two teams played Thursday Night Football, there were a lot of short throws and sustained drives before the most famous kneecap in Kansas City was dislocated. I expect a similar output — but no new injuries for Mahomes. Juan Thornhill gets an interception and the good guys get the win. Chiefs 28, Broncos 17
Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)
Patrick Mahomes continues to deal with injury after injury, but early this week, signs indicated he should be his usual self come Sunday. Lamar Jackson will win this year’s MVP — and deservedly so — but his magical season and Mahomes’ injured one have made the national crowd forget about the Chiefs quarterback. At some point here, things have to click — and I think that (finally) happens for Mahomes on Sunday. The Chiefs need to manage Phillip Lindsay, whom Steve Spagnuolo said could wreck the game. I think Drew Lock gets a touchdown or two in his homecoming, but the Chiefs will win in convincing fashion. Chiefs 42, Broncos 21
Which team wins the Chiefs-Broncos game?
This poll is closed
Chiefs in a blowout
Chiefs in a close game
Broncos in a close game
Broncos in a blowout
Ties in the standings are broken with prediction points error — how much each prediction misses the actual point spread and the number of points scored by each team.
Together, the AP staff figured on a 25.1-18.8 Chiefs victory against the Patriots. With only 5.6 points of error, it was our best composite prediction of the season.
With just two points of error, Pete Sweeney’s 24-16 prediction was almost perfect, tying Craig Stout’s Week 9 as the most accurate of the year; so far, nobody on the staff has nailed a pick. With 10 points of error, Kent Swanson’s 27-21 pick was next-best in Week 14.