On this week’s game preview edition of the Arrowhead Pride Laboratory, we talked about three points on offense — and three on defense — to watch as the world champion Kansas City Chiefs take on another divisional rival on the road: the Denver Broncos.
Here are three focus points on offense and defense to watch on Sunday:
New-look offensive line
It appears the Chiefs will be rolling with the same five offensive linemen they finished the game with against Buffalo. The group of Eric Fisher, Nick Allegretti, Daniel Kilgore, Andrew Wylie and Mike Remmers played the majority of the snaps — to a great deal of success. We’ll get to see another game’s worth of snaps against a tough front in Denver. If the run success is replicated on Sunday, that’s a positive sign moving forward.
Le’Veon Bell’s debut
We’re expecting to see Le’Veon Bell play in some capacity against the Broncos. The former Steelers and Jets running back is eligible for the first time to suit up for the Chiefs. It likely won’t be a significant role in the first game — but the veteran should be able to see the field this week. I’d expect a package or two with Bell involved — perhaps getting him involved some on third down in pass protection. Edwards-Helaire has primarily taken the early-down work, but Darrel Williams’ snaps are available.
Wide receiver outlook
The beneficiaries of Sammy Watkins’ absence last week were Demarcus Robinson (who led all receivers in snaps on Monday) and Byron Pringle. Both made significant contributions to the win and will likely see opportunities again. The role of explosive second-year player Mecole Hardman did not change. He played only 40% of the snaps (only his fourth-highest rate of the season) and dropped his lone target — nearly resulting in an interception. It will be fascinating to see who gets the most opportunities — and if Hardman can get more involved.
Denver offensive line problems
The Broncos don’t have a great offensive line as it is, and the loss of former Kansas State Wildcat Dalton Risner won’t help. The Chiefs should have success trying to get after Drew Lock — inside and outside. Garret Bolles has had somewhat of a career resurgence, but Frank Clark has had his number in the past. Chris Jones is coming off a dominant performance against Buffalo and should find success again.
Handling a vertical passing threat
The Broncos will challenge down the field with some of their young weapons — and the Chiefs will need to be ready for it. Lock and company will have to generate some explosive plays in the passing game in order to keep up with the Chiefs. There have been some breakdowns in the back end of coverage on vertical plays in recent weeks. They’ll need to shore that up. Much like what they did to Josh Allen last week, the Chiefs can speed up Lock and affect his accuracy down the field.
Continuing run defense success
The Bills didn’t find much success running the football against the Chiefs defense. Outside of a Devontae Booker run the week before, the Raiders weren’t having much success either. The run fits were as good as they’ve been under Steve Spagnuolo last week. This would be a good week to continue that trend. Spagnuolo always talks about earning the right to rush the passer — the Chiefs have the last two weeks. Another game like the last two and they’ll get a chance to tee off on a thin offensive line.
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