Before the Week 11 game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys, Arrowhead Pride contributors were less confident in a victory than any other game this season. Three of our staffers thought the Cowboys would win — and among the rest, only one thought the Chiefs would win the game comfortably. Our aggregate prediction for a 35-32 Chiefs victory also reflected our belief that the game would be a shootout. Kansas City’s 19-9 victory was anything but that.
Our readers were even less confident of a win. About one in four thought the Cowboys would win — but to their credit, about a third of the rest thought the Chiefs would win the game easily.
In Week 13, the Chiefs face the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium. The game — originally scheduled for Noon Arrowhead Time — has been flexed to Sunday Night Football. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Kansas City is favored by 9.5 points. Let’s see what the staff — and our readers — think about the matchup.
Tom Childs (@tomchilds56)
I found myself drinking too much of that Chiefs Kool-Aid on this week’s Great British Chiefs Show. Since the Kansas City defense has found its championship swagger, my confidence in the team has risen to a Mount Everest-sized height. For that reason, I made the outworld prediction that the Chiefs would blow out the Broncos big time on Sunday Night Football. I guess I’ve made my bed — so now, I have to lie in it. That being said, I am top of these rankings for a reason. Humblebrag. Chiefs 38, Broncos 13
John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)
All over the league, this season has been full of unexpected twists and turns. I don’t think many would have predicted that in Week 13, the Chiefs and Broncos would be facing off for the division lead — and even if they had, they probably wouldn’t also have thought the game would be a defensive struggle. But given everything that’s happened so far, that’s how I see it. In a game that won’t be as close as the score will indicate, I think the Chiefs will extend their lead in the AFC West — but I don’t see them covering the spread. Chiefs 24, Broncos 20
Talon Graff (@CoachGraff34)
It is well-documented just how long it has been since the Chiefs have lost to the Broncos — but in any AFC West matchup, that stuff can usually go out the window. But thus far, Denver has had an up-and-down season while taking down some good teams, now finding themselves 6-5 — a game back from Kansas City. The Denver defense is a solid group — but Kansas City’s new offensive linemen have worked their way into being a top unit, too; Patrick Mahomes and his playmakers need to have clean games to ensure victory. Denver leans heavily on a two-headed rushing attack with Melvin Gordon (now doubtful for the game) and rookie Javonte Williams. These two must be held in check so the defense can apply pressure to Teddy Bridgewater. Plus, Andy Reid’s record after bye weeks can’t be ignored. Chiefs 24, Broncos 17
Kristian Gumminger (@kgumminger)
The Chiefs come into Sunday night’s matchup off the bye week — and riding a four-game winning streak. But the Broncos come into Arrowhead having won three of their last four by leaning on their ground game. So my key matchup in this contest is the Chiefs’ run defense against the Broncos’ running game. With Melvin Gordon doubtful for the game, the Broncos will lean on rookie Javonte Williams, who has shown explosion and great vision. But even with his great promise, he’s always been part of a running back committee. As a pro, he’s never had more than 20 touches in a single game — and at UNC, he had only four games with 20 or more touches. How he holds up will dictate how much Denver will need to rely on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to win the game. As a game manager who isn’t very mobile, Bridgewater will prefer to get the ball out quickly rather than drive the ball downfield. If Kansas City can slow down Williams — and apply pressure to Bridgewater — they’ll win this game in a blowout. The Broncos will eventually break their losing streak against the Chiefs — but not on Sunday. Kansas City makes it 12 straight. Chiefs 30, Broncos 17
Mark Gunnels (@MarkAGunnels)
The Chiefs are either going to come out of this bye blazing hot or sluggish. I don’t think there’s any in-between here —- but based on Andy Reid’s track record, I have to believe this team comes out ready to put the hammer down in the AFC West. The Chiefs' next three games are all against division foes — starting with the Broncos on Sunday night. Their defense is legit — and I would expect them to make things hard for Patrick Mahomes and the offense. I don’t, however, believe they’ll be able to hold the Kansas City offense down for four quarters. On the other side of the ball, I like how the Chiefs' defense matches up — and I just don’t believe Teddy Bridgewater will be able to make enough plays in crucial moments. Chiefs 27, Broncos 17
Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)
The “Andy Reid off a bye week” narrative is real — and I think it’s especially relevant this season. The Chiefs have now had their annual rough stretch. Gaining momentum going into the bye — and then coming out against three consecutive AFC West opponents — is the perfect way to pick up a head of steam going into the postseason. I believe we’ll see a focused team that does a better job with turnovers and penalties — but Denver will still give them a game. In a too-close-for-comfort matchup, Rashad Fenton’s absence will be exposed. Chiefs 30, Broncos 24
Rocky Magaña (@RockyMagana)
This game is set up to be the Chiefs’ offense versus the Denver’ defense. Whichever of these units plays better on Sunday will walk out of Arrowhead with a win. That being said, the Broncos do have weapons in their passing game: Jerry Juedy, Cortland Sutton and Tim Patrick. But as it has been ever since Peyton Manning retired, the question is this: who is going to get the ball into their hands? Until Denver solves that problem, I see this game going just like other recent games against the Chiefs. The Broncos have put up some nice bulletin board material this week — but the Chiefs have a pretty good defense of their own. They are just the better team. Chiefs 33, Broncos 23
Kramer Sansone (@KramerTalks)
I would absolutely love to say the Chiefs are fully back — but to say so, I am going to have to hold off until at least next week. The Chiefs’ defense has continued to show me they are improving and gelling week-by-week — and I feel that improvement will be why they defeat the Broncos. Now... the Chiefs’ offense concerns me because the Broncos’ defense has played exceptionally well. The Chiefs giving up a lot of turnovers in a lot of different ways also concerns me; it seems like they find a new way to give up the football each week. That’s why the Chiefs’ defense will have to help them. A big game is coming from Melvin Ingram. Chiefs 33, Broncos 16
Jared Sapp (@TrumanChief)
The Broncos make me nervous due to years of personnel moves that have seemed to be entirely geared at beating the Chiefs. The Broncos have also been among the league’s most unpredictable teams during its most unpredictable season. While the Chiefs’ offense did not perform particularly well in either matchup last year, I will trust Andy Reid’s post-bye-week record of success. I expect a low-scoring game where both teams focus heavily on the run: the Broncos will do it to keep the Chiefs’ offense off the field, while the Chiefs will do it to minimize the impact of a talented Broncos secondary. The game will be stressful — but in the end, we’ll look back and realize the outcome was never really in doubt. Chiefs 24, Broncos 17
Stephen Serda (@StephenSerda)
In a lot of ways, the Broncos can be a problematic match-up for the Chiefs — but if we’re really sold the Chiefs are back, then we have to be confident they are simply the better football team in this game. Vic Fangio’s defense has given The Chiefs some problems in the past — and Kansas City’s defense has had some impressive games over the last, month — but this is a big-time prove-it game for the Chiefs. Coming off a bye and proving to the rest of the division you’re still the top team is important. Andy Reid will have a good game plan dialed up — and it’s going to involve a lot of what the Chiefs have recently been doing on offense. So this might not be a super high-scoring game — but the offense will still do enough when Denver can’t easily put points on the board. Chiefs 27, Broncos 14
Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)
At this point, the Broncos have a better record than most of us would have expected — and it’s due in large part to a good defense and a couple of standout rookies. Patrick Surtain II has been everything they hoped he’d be; his two interceptions against Justin Herbert in Week 12 were game-changers. Patrick Mahomes and his receivers will have to show that they can get in rhythm, be efficient and take care of the football. For the Denver offense, Teddy Bridgewater tends to spread the ball around and do just enough to be competitive; especially this week, the Broncos’ second-round running back is likely to be their biggest workhorse. But by shutting down Javonte Williams and making Bridgewater try to beat the Chiefs with a one-dimensional attack, the Kansas City defense can continue to look like one of the best in the league. The Chiefs have the superior team — and coming out of the bye, we should expect them to play like it. Chiefs 35, Broncos 12
Bryan Stewart (@BryanStewart_)
While I believe Denver is worthy of respect — and is arguably the AFC West’s second-best team behind the Chiefs — there’s no way I can pick the Broncos to win this football game when Kansas City is coming off of a bye. I do foresee Denver’s defense putting together a solid-enough game plan to perhaps give them a chance early on, but the difference between this year and last is the Kansas City offensive line — and how they will be able to run the football inside the red zone. If Andy Reid’s offense will take what is given in terms of play-calling — and if both Kansas City lines control the line of scrimmage as they should — Sunday night will put another notch in the win column. Once again, I expect the Chiefs’ defense to shine in a major way. Chiefs 28, Broncos 16
Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)
When the 2021 NFL schedule was released, this Week 13 game between the Chiefs and Broncos didn’t really feel like it would mean much. The Chiefs were talking 20-0 — and it seemed like a Broncos team that was 5-11 in 2020 would be happy to just find itself out of the AFC West basement. But now, this game means so much that the NFL decided to flex it to primetime. Our compatriots at Mile High Report seem to think the key to a possible Denver win is to control the game by running the football — and I don’t disagree. So it will be up to the Chiefs defense to set the tone. I also believe the Broncos are now playing well enough that Kansas City cannot afford some of the bad turnovers we have seen this year. The margin feels smaller in this one. No cover of 10 points for me, but I like this game as a dogfight. Give me Mahomes — and the (mostly) always reliable Andy Reid win after the bye. Chiefs 27, Broncos 20
Ethan Willinger (@ecwillinger)
I like the Chiefs in this one — but the specifics are challenging to predict. On paper, Kansas City’s offense and Denver’s defense can be among the better units in the league — but week-to-week, they are each fairly unpredictable. On the other side of the ball, the loss of Rashad Fenton could prove costly if the Broncos are able to exploit matchups with Mike Hughes on the outside. Still, Denver’s running game has been the key to its offensive turnaround — and it could be hamstrung by a slew of injuries along the offensive line and to running back Melvin Gordon. Given those circumstances, I’ll stick to what I know. The Chiefs are trending in the right direction, they’re typically sharp off their bye week and the defense has already begun its late-season ascension ahead of the playoffs. I think the Broncos will be feisty in a meaningful primetime game, but the Chiefs will continue to round into postseason form. Chiefs 27, Broncos 17
Which team wins Broncos (6-5) at Chiefs (7-4)?
This poll is closed
Chiefs in a blowout (14 or more points)
Chiefs in an easy win (8-13 points)
Chiefs in a close game (7 points or less)
Broncos in a close game
Broncos in an easy win
Broncos in a blowout
|14||10||Ron Kopp Jr.||6||5||0.5455||36.4|
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.
Among the staff, Bryan Stewart’s prediction for 33-26 Chiefs win over the Cowboys was Week 11’s best — even though it missed by 34 points. It was Bryan’s second win of the season, moving him to the top of the third tier in our standings. With 36 points of error, Jared Sapp’s 31-27 pick was good for second place among the staff.