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Chiefs and Broncos players have differing views on Sunday’s big matchup

Kansas City owns a years-long winning streak against Denver — and players for each team see it differently.

Denver Broncos vs Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs have won 11 consecutive games against the Denver Broncos — a streak that dates back to November of 2015. Placekicker Brandon McManus and defensive tackle Mike Purcell are the only Denver players who have ever experienced a Broncos victory against the Chiefs.

But safety Justin Simmons has been with the team for nine of those 11 Kansas City victories. And to him, it feels about like you’d expect it would.

“Yeah. It’s extremely personal,” he told reporters this week, per Mile High Report. “No matter what I say up here — no matter how good it sounds, bad it sounds.”

The Broncos are fresh off an upset 28-13 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers — a win that puts them in a position to take over the top spot in the AFC West with a victory in Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday night. But Simmons recognizes that this was also true three weeks ago, as the Broncos were preparing to play the Philadelphia Eagles following a stunning 30-16 road victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

“We can’t have a ‘Dallas Week,’” said Simmons. “We had a good game against Dallas — and we came back the next week and kind of laid an egg against Philly. They played well, too.”

So for Simmons and his teammates, nothing else matters.

“For us, it means a lot going into next week,” he said. “It’s going to be a really good game. Another statement game. No matter what happens, we have to find a way to leave Arrowhead with a win.”

Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images

But among the players and coaches preparing to face the Broncos on Sunday Night Football, the long winning streak is way down the list of the things they’re thinking about.

“Other than when you play this week and people talk about it, we’re not really paying attention to it,” said Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. “I mean, we understand it’s a whole brand-new football team on both sides of the ball. It’s a division opponent; it’s always a big game against the Broncos.”

Mahomes — who was then a quarterback at Texas Tech — slyly mentioned the seven consecutive games the Broncos had won against the Chiefs before the current streak began.

“I mean, they won a couple of games against us, too, so we know it’s a big rivalry — and we need to go out there and play our best football.”

“I’m not even sure what you’re talking about,” said head coach Andy Reid of his 11-game streak — and then he chuckled. ”We can’t think about all that. We’re in this whole thing where we’re trying to just get good enough to go play these guys, right? So that’s where we’re at.”

Reid is obviously aware that while Denver has displayed some inconsistency in recent games, it has also demonstrated an ability to win big ones.

“They’ve got an experienced coordinator,” noted Reid, speaking of defensive coordinator Ed Donatell — who was in Denver for plenty of wins against the Chiefs during previous stints as a Broncos assistant from 1995-99 and 2009-10. And then there’s head coach Vic Fangio.

“Their head coach is one of the best defensive minds in the game,” added Reid. “So he presents a real solid defense. They’ve got a great red-zone defense [and] their pass defense is right up there with the top pass defenses. He has enough blitz packages in there where he could bring in the max — zero blitzes — but at the same time, he picks and chooses when he does that [and] chooses when he brings an extra guy. He works to keep you off-balance that way.”

“Obviously, there are things that they do a little differently,” said Mahomes of the Broncos defense, which has allowed the third-fewest points in the NFL this season. “But they’ve been a good defense for a long time — especially with Coach Fangio there. I mean, you look around the league, a lot of defenses have adopted the style of defense he runs because he does it so well. He definitely has a great defense [and] they have great players. It’ll be a great challenge for us.”

But for what it’s worth, Fangio isn’t necessarily paying as much attention to his team’s long losing streak as some of his players.

“Well, I’m sure they’re aware of it,” he told Kansas City reporters on Wednesday, “because you guys have a good way of making everybody aware of that — both there and here — so they’re aware of it. But once the ball’s kicked off, it’s another game between our team and their team. Whatever’s happened in the past is in the past.”