In Week 12, all but one of Arrowhead Pride’s contributors called for the Kansas City Chiefs to defeat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Florida. Our 37.9-32.8 composite prediction guessed the point spread fairly accurately, but we clearly expected both teams to score more often. Our readers also (mostly) expected a close Chiefs win. 88% called for a victory, but 70% thought it would be a close game. 11% thought Tampa Bay would pull out a close win.
So let’s see what the staff (and our readers) think about Sunday night’s divisional game between the Chiefs and Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium.
Tom Childs (@tomchilds56)
This might get ugly. The Chiefs offense is really feeling themselves right now — plus they love the spotlight. After leaving about 50 points on the field in Tampa — and with all eyes on Arrowhead — Mahomes and the Legion of Zoom will be determined to put on a show and make up for some of the scoring they didn’t manage against the Buccaneers. Drew Lock might eventually get his — but for him, playing keep up with the Chiefs will be an impossible task. Chiefs 41, Broncos 17
John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)
On paper, this game ought to be a laugher. But the Broncos won’t be starting a practice-squad wide receiver at quarterback — and we should never forget that this is a division game; the normal rules just don’t apply. Travis Kelce becomes the first tight end in NFL history to have five 1,000-yard seasons (take that, George Kittle!) and the Chiefs take another step towards their fifth-straight AFC West crown. Chiefs 31, Broncos 17
Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)
The Chiefs need this game; it’s sandwiched in the middle of four tough road games. Before they hit the road again for Miami and New Orleans over the next two weeks, they’ll get to beat up on their division foe — who didn’t even have an active quarterback last game. For Sunday, the Broncos should have Drew Lock back — but it won’t matter. The Chiefs defense — especially the pass rush — will come out motivated to make a statement, while the offense will continue to roll. Chiefs 28, Broncos 13
Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina)
This second-round of Chiefs-Broncos is a primetime game — but it certainly can’t live up to that kind of hype. The Chiefs easily dispatched the Broncos earlier this year. Since then, the two teams have trended in different directions. Still, the Chiefs coming off a hard two-game stretch and have two more challenging road games following this one. That could make this one as a trap game. I expect the Chiefs offense to continue rolling against an injury-riddled Broncos defense — and look much cleaner than it did the first time. The defense could really use a bounce-back game with a ton of fire and dynamic play, but I’m not sure this is the week it happens. The Chiefs will come out a little flat overall, while the Broncos — playing with a chip on their shoulder after the last couple of weeks — keep it close through the first half. But the Chiefs’ talent wins out as the offense continues to roll. Chiefs 31, Broncos 20
Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)
At this point in the season, we know who the Chiefs are (h/t to the Nerd Squad). They have shown they can (and will) put up bunches of points against whichever defense gets in their way. They aren’t great at rushing the passer, but they can get turnovers on defense. They usually don’t blow teams out — at least not for a whole game — but they’ve got the greatest player on the planet, who typically puts them in position to win. We shouldn’t overlook the Broncos. They have beaten good teams this season, but there’s no reason to believe Mahomes and company will do anything less than what it takes to win on Sunday. Look for the Chiefs to re-establish their running game — and get Mecole Hardman going again. Chiefs 35, Broncos 24
Craig Stout (@barleyhop)
This Broncos team has a lot of young, dynamic talent — especially on the offensive side of the ball — but they just don’t quite measure up at quarterback. Patrick Mahomes is on a heater. I expect him to put points on the board against a team that allowed him only 200 yards and a touchdown the last time they played. Steve Spagnuolo and the defense want to prove that they can rush the passer effectively, so I expect lots of early blitzes, helping to make it a get-right game for the Chiefs’ four-man rush. The Chiefs cruise to victory over a division opponent. Chiefs 30, Broncos 10
Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson)
The NFL didn’t flex out a game where the Chiefs are playing a 4-7 team fresh off a game where a practice squad receiver was the quarterback. Why? Three words: Patrick Lavon Mahomes. The Chiefs are going red-on-red for this primetime game — and I don’t expect the best player in the world to disappoint. On national television, he will get another chance to strengthen his MVP case with a big performance. Chiefs 38, Broncos 17
Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)
In my not so uncommon opinion, this is the best the Kansas City Chiefs offense has looked since the team moved on from Kareem Hunt in 2018. Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are all having their best seasons at the same time — and they should continue against a Broncos defense that is missing key pieces. The Chiefs defense should feel challenged to do better against Phillip Lindsay, who was a terror before Daniel Sorensen knocked him out of the game the last time around. The first step to beating the Chiefs is having a quarterback who can to go toe-to-toe with Mahomes — and in a throwaway year thanks to injury and COVID, Drew Lock is not ready. Perhaps that might change at some time in the future, but it would be hard to expect Sunday night. Chiefs 37, Broncos 17
Which team wins Broncos (4-7) at Chiefs (10-1)?
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.
In 2019, no one turned in a perfect prediction until Week 20’s AFC Championship game, when Craig Stout called the 35-24 victory over the Tennessee Titans. It didn’t take quite as long this season. John Dixon’s Week 12 prediction of a 27-24 Chiefs victory was right on the money. Pete Sweeney, Kent Swanson, Matt Lane and Tom Childs tied for second place with 22 points of error in predictions that ranged from 38-35 to 38-28. Craig — who had bravely called for a 34-31 Buccaneers win — fell into the bottom tier of the standings, while John solidified his lead and everyone else in the top tier moved up a notch.